Mukono ‘soon’ legalizing crime as serial land grabbers plan to host Lands Minister 

By Insight Post Uganda

Mukono, Uganda

It seems Mukono district will soon legalise crimes if police and other security organs do not step up their game in protecting people’s properties and respecting the law, especially court decisions.

This website has uncovered a shocking twist in the ongoing saga involving the late Musa Mwanje’s family and their contested estate in Kiyanja, Nakisunga sub-county, Mukono District.

Just a few weeks after successfully reoccupying their property, which had been illegally seized by a notorious gang led by Paddy Sserunjogi, alias Sobi (now late), the family now faces a fresh threat from another gang allegedly attached to and supported by security forces.

Despite the family obtaining a court order on December 5, 2023, issued by Justice Faridah Shamilah Bukirwa Ntambi, the threats rage on. The court order granted the family the right to reclaim its estate.

Sobi’s gang was hired by Fulgencio Ssembajjwe, the administrator of the late John Lule Ssebakijja’s estate. Ssembajjwe’s claim to have purchased 20 acres from Mwanje, albeit incomplete due to Ssebakijja’s passing, was facilitated by a forged court order from 2015.

Sobi, who used to present himself as a Special Forces Command operative, wielded the forged order and asserted the full backing of the district security committee for the eviction.

The family, having faced eviction from the entire estate, sought court intervention after failed attempts to resolve the matter with local authorities, including the police, the resident district commissioner’s office, and the Ministry of Lands.

They (family) further contend that the initial eviction order was illegally obtained and sought justice through legal channels. In simpler terms, Mwanje’s family presented evidence to challenge the legitimacy of the eviction order.

Mwanje’s son, Dirisa Ssebufu, explained in a sworn statement that the order claimed by the other party originated from an appeal related to a case Mwanje had won years ago at the Chief Magistrates Court in Mukono.

Despite filing the appeal in 1999, it was never officially communicated to the other party, and there is no proof of it being served. Additionally, there are no recorded proceedings or judgments from the appeal.

Justice Ntambi, in her ruling, highlighted the absence of proper documentation, stating that it was a significant error, as it deprived Mwanje of his right to be heard. She concluded that, without clear records, the legitimacy of the order was doubtful and subsequently set it aside. This ruling came a year after Mwanje’s passing.

Thankfully, the leader of the group causing trouble in the area, who was involved in a separate land-grabbing scandal, was also killed. This turn of events allowed Mwanje’s family to reclaim their land.

“Fortunately, the gang leader responsible for the chaos in the area was also killed in a separate land-grabbing scandal, providing our family with an opportunity to reclaim our land,” Ssebufu says.

However, recent developments have left them puzzled. The defense secretary, Richard Tabule, has been mobilising villagers for a meeting to settle them back on the contested land, presided over by Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Judith Nabakooba.

Ssebufu questions the intention behind mobilising residents, especially since there are only two legitimate tenants who lost their homes to Sobi’s group. Despite earlier pleas for authorities to visit the site, the minister’s sudden interest raises eyebrows.

Intelligence suggests that Ssembajjwe and Sobi planned to evict Mwanje’s family, gaining support from security operatives in the district. They allegedly demarcated plots on the entire 100-acre estate, promising portions of land to cooperating security personnel.

In a disturbing twist, there were plans to exhume and erase evidence of Mwanje’s ancestors’ burial grounds to distort ownership records.

Ssebufu reveals that grabbers took advantage of the eviction to destroy valuable properties, including banana plantations, trees worth Shillings 700 million, over ten cows, and excavated thousands of trips of sand in the area.

The daughters of Mwanje, namely Hajarah Nalugingi, Hamidah Nakyejjwe, and Aisha Nabifu, have recently returned home after months of fearing for their lives.

According to Nakyejjwe, the gangs that forcefully took over their residence used it as a base to vandalise their properties, looting items such as beds, sofa sets, and utensils worth millions.

These perpetrators remain untraceable. Juma Majwala, a resident and tenant of Mwanje, found himself homeless after they demolished his house, valued at about Shillings 100 million, for refusing allegiance to them.

Despite reporting the matter to the police and providing names of the gang members, they remain free and have not been summoned to record statements.

Majwala and his family, consisting of eight children, now find themselves scattered among relatives for temporary survival.

Another house, reportedly constructed by the UPDF engineering brigade as a gift from President Museveni to his former bodyguard, has been vandalised, with all properties stolen.

The nearby villages report that no security personnel from the police or the office of the RDC have dared to step onto the contested land, fearing ambushes by Sobi’s groups.

Security officers and the Minister for Lands have been elusive in providing information or commenting on the situation.

Unverified reports suggest that the gang mobilized by the village defense secretary has sold some of their properties to fund the intended meeting.

Mukono RDC Refutes Allegations

However, the Saturday Vision dated February 10, 2024, reported that RDC Hajjat Ndisaba denied the allegations made by Mwanje’s family, stating that their involvement aimed at ensuring the smooth implementation of court orders.

Ndisaba mentioned that she could not delve into the details due to the subjudice rule. While acknowledging that some mistreatment of Mwanje’s family may be occurring, Ndisaba did not label the family as entirely innocent.

She noted that the family had petitioned her office, leading to her instruction to Edirisa Kyeyune, the DPC for Mukono Division, to form a committee to investigate the matter.

However, Ndisaba claimed that the family had hindered their work, accusing the DPC of land theft on one occasion.  

According to the RDC, her role as the head of security in ensuring court orders’ implementation, asserting that the land dispute predates her appointment as RDC, absolving her of blame for the family’s predicament.

Joab Wabwire, the Kampala Metropolitan East Regional Police commander, acknowledged learning about the matter late the previous year.

A team, including Ndisaba, Col. Moses Segujja (Mukono district Internal Security Officer), Kyeyune, and Brig. Gen. Lukyamuzi, visited the location to address the concerns raised by Mwanje’s family and the community.

Wabwire reported that a team had been constituted by the commander of Kampala Metropolitan Police to investigate the matter further.

While withholding details on the ongoing investigation, Wabwire assured that those found culpable would face consequences.

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