Kabaka’s Properties Restitution Law is Constitutional – Court Rules

From L-R. Denis Bugaya, spokesperson of Buganda Land Board, Owek. Christopher Bwanika (Buganda attorney general), and Mr Ssenyomo Daniel , Legal Manager at Buganda Land Board (Photo/Handout)

Kampala, (UG):– The constitutional court in Kampala has ruled that the 1993 law which restituted and restored traditional institutions in Uganda doesn’t violet the constitution as has been alleged by different people including the Minister of State for Lands, Hon Sam Mayanja.

The ruling, delivered on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, arose from a constitutional petition number 9 filed by Prince Kalemeera Kimera, a grandson of Daudi Chwa II where he wanted court to nullify the 1993 traditional rulers’ restitution law, asserting that the law had unconstitutionally vested properties of the late Kabaka Daudi Chwa II to which he is a beneficiary into the Kabaka of Buganda, depriving him of his property rights. 

In his petition, Prince Kalemeera had argued that the law was unconstitutional as it contravened articles 26 and 21 which guarantee the right to own property and protection from compulsory deprivation or right over property.

The petitioner wanted the court to declare that sections 2 and 3 of the Traditional Rulers’ Act are inconsistent with articles 2, 21,26, 246(3)(a) and (b) of the constitution and are to the extent void. He further wanted the court to award him and other beneficiaries of the late Sir Daudi Chwa II USD60m as compensation for what he called deprivation of their property.

However, while giving their ruling on the case, the constitutional court judges led by Justice Richard Buteera, along with Catherine Bamugemereire, Mutangula Kibeedi, Irene Mulyagonja and Oscar Kihika ruled that Prince Kalemeera’s petition was incompetent as the sections of the 1993 law it sought to annul were not unconstitutional. 

The judges therefore agreed in unison to dismiss the petition with costs to the Kabaka of Buganda and the Attorney General of Buganda.

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Commenting on the court’s ruling, Buganda Kingdom’s Attorney General; Owek. Christopher Bwanika welcomed the court’s ruling and said that the ruling will go a long way to ward off people who have made it a habit to sue the Kabaka of Buganda alleging to own his property. 

Owek Bwanika who was addressing the media on Thursday at Masengere said that the ruling clearly showed that the 1993 law is constitutional and that the returning of properties to the Kabaka was rightly done. He warned people to stop wasting Kabaka’s time and resources in court since his time and resources would be better utilized in serving the people of Buganda.

Mr Denis Bugaya, the spokesperson of Buganda Land Board (BLB) equally weighed in on Bwanika’s remarks and warned people who drag the Kabaka to court on flimsy grounds that the kingdom will not have mercy on them as it recovers its costs whenever it wins against them in court.

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Counsel Usaama Ssebuufu from  K&K Advocates, who represented the Kabaka in the Petition thanked the judges for the landmark ruling. The Buganda Royal Chambers, K&K Advocates and the legal department of the Buganda Land Board were greatly appreciated by the Kingdom for the work done.

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