Home National News Buganda Kingdom on verge of losing 632-acre land

Buganda Kingdom on verge of losing 632-acre land

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Court has been asked to dismiss a bid by the Edward Muteesa II estate to gain control of 632 acres of land in the city suburb of Mutungo-Luzira. The battle between Dr Muhammad Buwule and beneficiaries of the deceased Buganda monarch is over land registered as Kyaddondo Block 273 Mutungo-Luzira.

A valuation report dated May 17, 2006, put the property at sh192b. On November 6, the battle started afresh at the Land Division of the High Court in Kampala, presided over by Justice Eudes Keitirima. Prior on February 1, the Court of Appeal ordered the lower court to conduct a fresh inquiry into the ownership.

The Court of Appeal reasoned that High Court did not exhaustively scrutinise the beneficiaries’ complaint of threatened rights. The dispute at the Court of Appeal was querying High Court Judge Wilson Masalu Musene’s move to review his ruling delivered on September 30, 2015.

Buwule challenged Musene’s decision, saying he had no statutory power to quash his earlier decision. Previously, Musene ruled in Buwule’s favour, saying since the Administrator General (AG) had voluntarily withdrawn from administration of the estate, it implied the case the AG filed against Buwule had automatically collapsed. However, Buwule objected to the bid. His lawyer, Simon Kiiza, submitted that the beneficiaries’ conflicting claims are illogical.

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“The plaintiffs’ claims to recover the suit land and claiming compensation and damages in respect of the same land on grounds that they lost the land, are contradictory claims which common sense and common justice prohibits,” stated Kiiza.

He premised his argument on the doctrine of approbation and reprobation, which states that a litigant cannot adopt two inconsistent attitudes towards one another. Accordingly, a decision on the way forward will be delivered January 19.

Court documents

Court documents show that in 1979, Buwule bought land which was formerly part of the estate. Documents indicate that Muteesa II, who was in exile in Britain in the aftermath of 1966 crisis, instructed his sister, Princess Victoria Mpologoma, to sell the land. He gave her powers of attorney to act on his behalf. Documents further show that in 1968, the land was subsequently sold to Masaka tycoon Benjamin Kwemalamala Kintu. Kintu later sold it to Lake View Properties Limited (LVPL), from whom Buwule purchased. The transfer to Buwule is dated November 6, 1979.

LVPL had mortgaged the land to Barclays Bank in 1972, but defaulted on payment. Buwule paid the debt and the bank subsequently gave him the titles. However, the estate beneficiaries, including reigning monarch Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, purport fraudulent transaction. During the Court of Appeal hearing last year on June 7, Kiiza asked court to pronounce that Musene’s earlier ruling in favour of Buwule was the correct position of the law.

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However, estate lawyer Muzamiru Kibeedi submitted that beneficiaries of Muteesa II estate, were aggrieved and wanted to reclaim.

Land history

Documents show the land was surveyed in 1946 and was registered in the names Edward Muteesa II on February 12, 1946. However in 1968, when Kintu purchased the land, he first sold parts of it and gave out a few leases. Among the prominent purchasers included former Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka, who got four acres on the Mutungo hilltop. The now defunct LVPL was incorporated in Uganda shortly after Independence.

Its shareholders were the top dogs at the time, among whom was Benedicto Kiwanuka and Joseph Mubiru (former Bank of Uganda governor). When LVPL got a loan from Barclays, it mortgaged the land, but, unfortunately, failed to service the loan, which prompted the bank to threaten auctioning the land at a price below its true market value. Subsequently, LVPL shareholders looked for a buyer and Buwule emerged. The estate had been in government custody since December 8, 1971. In 2005, Prince David Wasajja and 10 others sued the Government, demanding sh192b compensation