KAMPALA– Court has nullified the violent eviction of hundreds of families that left property worth millions of Shillings destroyed in Sekanyonyi Village in Mpererwe in Kawempe Division.
High Court Judge John Eudes Keitirima ruled on Friday that the Chief Magistrates Court at Nabweru that ordered for an eviction which resulted into destruction of property had no jurisdiction to handle the case.
The judge held that it was imperative for Mr Medard Kiconco and his lawyers to provide the estimated value of structures that he was seeking to demolish in order for the trial court to determine whether it was within the ambit of the court’s pecuniary jurisdiction to order.
“The execution was a nullity as it was based on a decision that was issued by a court without competent jurisdiction. Determining the merits or the demerits of the execution process would therefore be superfluous,” Justice Keitirima held.
The judge observed that there was no effective service affected on the complainants and that if the trial chief magistrate had visited the disputed land, it would have alerted the concerned parties that someone had sued them.
Justice Keitirima ordered that any aggrieved party in regard to the said land should institute their suit in a court with competent jurisdiction.
In October, businessman Medard Kiconco claiming to own the land with the help of the armed Police and armed gang violently evicted them from the land where they have lived for decades and destroyed their household property.
The residents led by their leader, Fred Kanyike said that a total of 350 homes were demolished and 240 others awaits the same during the violent exercise by armed men both in uniform and civilian wear before fencing off their land without any notice.
The High Court orders followed an application filed by Mr Patrick Opedo and sixteen other persons that sought to set aside the exparte judgement.
Court documents shows that on October 3 2017, Nabweru Chief Magistrates Court before Ms Esther Nasambu had ordered Mr Patrick Opedo and the other parties to deliver vacant possession of the suit premises saying that they were trespassers on the land in dispute.
The court also issued a permanent order against the evictees, their agents and workers restraining them from further trespassing and degrading the land, alter its layout or continuing the nuisance or further construction thereon and that also they pay Shs20 million as general damages for loss that Mr Kiconco had had suffered.
The orders were sanctioned by the Execution Division through a warrant of vacant possession issued to bailiff Moses Kirunda of Spear Link Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs leading to October this year’s eviction.
Principal Judge, Dr Yorokamu Bamwine referred the case file to the High Court judge following contestations against orders by Nabweru Chief Magistrate and a High Court Registrar Baker Rwatooro which resulted into the violent eviction and subsequent destruction of property worth millions of shillings in October this year.
According to the ruling, the court was asked to study contestations and the file of the trial Court for possible revision orders and appropriate action.