MBARARA – The list of names of leading tycoons, businessmen and prominent politicians from MBARARA who have been directly or indirectly involved in the illegal grabbing of government land has leaked, PML Daily exclusively reports.
Following the letter from F. Mariam Wangadya the Deputy Inspector General of Government dated August 21, 2018, which has highlighted the sum of prime plots which are being irregularly disposed off by municipal officials amounting to 18 pieces of land which were on the verge of being sold off irregularly.
Wangadya ordered the then town clerk Edward Lwanga to immediately cease any sale, subdivision and registration of some of these plots.
Since then we made more efforts to dig deep into this story and bring out the names of big shots that have indirectly or directly grabbed some of these plots of land and have permanent structures on these prime plots which initially belonged to the town council.
It should be noted that it has been a perturbing question in the public domain on how these prime plots are easily got by Tycoons and prominent politicians, we have further established that some who are occupying these plots were either political leaders or had served in the Municipal council in the high offices, this causes one to think that they used their offices to grab or permanently settle on to government land.
To begin with, we have established among the prime plots, is the one occupied by Golf course supper market belonging to one businessman Joel Mwebesa that nears Mbarara state Attorney’s office and high court premises, very many people have argued on how a person can own a plot between Mbarara high court, State Attorney, Ministry of water and Sanitation then the RDC’s office, this plot is in the middle of those government offices.
Another one is the Kitunzi Market land located in Rwebikoona trading center, we have been told that this has been taken by one Ben Rwabukuru who according to sources has already processed a land title,
Thirdly, the land currently occupied by Soho terrace bar and restaurant located on Mbarara- Ntungamo road belonging to former Assistant Town clerk Mbarara Municipality Stratus Mushabe. Another one, the land occupied by petro city on Mbarara- Ntungamo road, its is believed that this land was formerly belonging to council but was later allegedly sold to Tycoon Phenehasi Mwesigwa the owner of Lake View Hotel by the then Kamukuzi chairperson Sam Rubasimbira.
Among other prime plots include former staff quarters to Uganda Electricity Board now UMEME where Rwizi Arch Hotel has made an extension still on Mbarara- Ntungamo road opposite GBK Diary Factor.
A government rest House opposite Mbarara Municipal offices which is alleged to have been taken by former Urban and Development Minister Urban Tibamanya who has changed it into Hostels for MUST Students.
Another one is a plot now owned by Fred Kafooko that had offices of Minerals and mines which he demolished and constructed a megastructure opposite Mbarara Municipal council offices.
Another one is a park yard now owned by Tycoon Alex Muhangi alias kash of Kash general hardware, this plot is located next to Umeme offices near Posta offices, that this land initially belonged to Uganda Post and telecommunications and corporation which was extending to where Oxford Inn Hotel belonging to Tycoon Aggrey Twijukye has made a hotel park yard these two plots have also been taken by these prominent businessmen respectively,
Others included an open space for Municipal council where former Mayor Wilson Tumwine constructed an extension of his Pelikan Hotel behind former Nakumatt Building, a playground of Kakika near second Division Makenke Barracks which was sold by former division chairman Benon Mugume, a plot where the northern bypass route is passing which was taken by Wilson Tumwine, the NFA at Rwemitongore III and Ruti forest reserve equivalent to 58 hectares have also been taken.
Other plots of land at the verge of being taken belonging to council is, Municipal land at Kakyera, Rwobuyenje cementry land opposite Makenke Army Barracks, Plot 2-4, volume 3448 folio 18, Mbaguta street, Plot 52-56 vol. 607, folio 15 Markert Square Kakoba Division, Plot 18 Kashari block 39 Vol.1347 folio 20 Kaburangire in Kakika division, Plot 13A vol.607 folio 17 Muti drive Kamukuzi division, Plot 79-95 Vol. 3716 folio 1 fortportal road in Kamukuzi division, Plot 22E-22N Vol. 2786 folio 25 Mbaguta street in Kakoba division, plot 40 Vol. 607 folio 6 lower circular Kamukuzi division, plot 12 Vol 684 folio 6 galt road in Kamukuzi, plot 6-10 Vol. 3596 Folio17 Kitunzi road in Kamukuzi division, Plot7A stanely road Kamukuzi division, Plot 7B stanely road, Plot 2 market close Kakoba division, Plot 2 Kijungu link 5 kakoba division, plot 4 kijungu road Kakoba division.
We landed on the letter dated 13th December 2011 from the then Town clerk Paul Omoko addressed to all squatters and illegal developers on Rwemitongore and Ruti Forest Reserve where he was writing directing them to stop any development and ordering them to vacate but they remained adamant, until when Omoko was replaced in 2013 by Johnson Baryantuma Munono, and now new town clerks have been coming but since then no letter has been writing to sound the same or warn encroachers on grabbers.
This has caused a section of councilors to think that the IGG should intervene and task authorities on how these plots were and have been taken
Kubule Muluwa the chief whip at Mbarara Municipal council (MMC) said that as a councellor he is worried, if in the next 10 years Mbarara Municipality will be left with any plot as they head for a city status come 2020.
“what I have realized every plot owned either by government or MMC has issues with fake titles being processed in a bid to grab it, we have very many land grabbers in Mbarara and this should stop, some have settled as squatters but have turned permanent settlers by erecting permanent buildings on those,”Said Kibule
He added, “so this is worrying, and we should ask ourselves, who is issuing out these land titles and development plans to these goons?, I think the town clerk should be in position to answer”
Byansi Muhammad the councilor representing Nyamityobora B in Kakoba division said that this time around they are going tussle it out with what he termed as untouchables who have grabbed Municipal land.
“Most of the plots went when Robert Rutehenda was still the mayor even before Wilson Tumwine came, we had lost much plots at the expense of weak leaders who were not doing their job diligently even some were involved in the vice, so it was very had to fight the vice but this time around” said Byansi.
Before adding, “we are not seated, we are going to re-visit our all original land titles and we shall rely on those land titles to open Municipal boundaries, then whoever is found as an encroacher shall face it rough, we can’t allow this to continue and leave Mbarara in the hands of goons, nooo”
Robert Kakyebezi the Mayor for Mbarara Municipality in an interview with PML Daily on Monday, sounded a warning to all grabbers to stop since they are wasting their time.
“This time we are not going to sit and watch government losing land as if we have no leaders to keep a watch on its properties, whoever knows that dubiously bought government land, its high time to vacate. We are going to open up boundaries on all municipal land”
However, some people have said that it won’t be easy for these people to leave these plots since some have money and influence in town, that they can’t allow losing their structures erected on those plots.
On NFA land, Kakyebezi said that degazzeting Rwemitongore and Ruti Forest reserve was to be done by the parliament to give a mandate to Council guards the land but up to now parliament has never decided on the matter.
He confirmed that people have already settled but blamed NFA for not minding about its land since they have never officially handed it over to the council in exchange of another land in Kakyeera in Kiruhura. and that there is no way how council can go on the land and start chasing grabbers without official ownership.
When asked whether he has ever sold or aided sale of any plot belonging to council, Kakyebezi denied the accusations and termed it as false and baseless