A family dispute has erupted over the administration of an expansive prime piece of land along Kampala-Entebbe road in Wakiso district.
The land in question measures four square miles and stretches from Zzana to Lubowa in Makindye Ssaabagabo municipality.
It has been the subject of a court battle involving the family of the late Prince Yusufu Ssuuna Kiweewa against senior government officials, parastatals and private companies that the family claims illegally acquired titles on the land.
Last month, the ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development cancelled about 46 land titles on the land in question, which it said had been fraudulently issued.
Among the cancelled titles is one which belongs to the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Maj Gen (rtd) Kahinda Otafiire.
Other titles are held by entities such as National Social Security Fund (NSSF), National Housing and Construction Company (NHCC), Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC), Roofings Ltd, Galaxy International School, Rainbow International School and Quality Supermarket.
The cancellation of the land titles followed a complaint by Mitchell Cotts Uganda Ltd, who complained to the ministry of Lands over the illegal land titles.
According to a September 12, 2013 report by the Lands ministry to the commandant of the police’s Land protection unit, the late Kiweewa is the originally-registered owner of the land.
Kiweewa was the eldest son of the late Kabaka Daniel Mwanga, and therefore an elder brother to the late Kabaka Daudi Chwa II.
At the signing of the 1900 Buganda agreement, Ssuuna Kiweewa was allocated eight square miles of land that cover the Lubowa land, and extend to Lweza, Bunnamwaya, Naziba to Nakukuba and Mutungo, Wakiso district. He was also allocated other chunks of land in Kayunga district.
Kiweewa bequeathed his estate to his two daughters, Princess Victoria Luwedde and Princess Kasalina Nkiinzi. According to family sources, Luwedde was given nine acres at Bunnamwaya and another 50 acres in Bugerere (Kayunga district).
“According to [Kiweewa’s] will, Luwedde, having been given her share, the rest of the estate remained under Nkiinzi because she was the only child that Kiweewa sired out of wedlock,” Paul Ssevume Muwanga, a great grandson to Kiweewa, told The Observer on August 3.
At the time of her death in August 2009, Nkiinzi had bequeathed the estate to her son, Stephen Ssaava Kikonyogo, and her grandson Joseph Kiggala, who are now battling with a group of relatives he accuses of conniving with brokers to lay claim on the land.
The letter of administration was signed by Justice Margaret Oguli Oumo on December 4, 2009 at Kampala High court. According to Andrew Kikonyogo, a son to Ssaava, since the cancellation of the 46 land titles, a group of people claiming to be Buganda princes and princesses have laid claim over the land although without a direct link to Kiweewa.
“They have been quoted in the press claiming to be in the lineage of our great grandfather yet they are not. Even some of the people in that group that claim to be princes and princess don’t have any connection to the Buganda royal family,” Kikonyogo said.
He cited a one Kaaya Ssennono, who has allegedly changed names to call himself Omulangira (Prince) Kimbugwe Nakibinge. According to Wilberforce Martin Ssebuliba, an elder son to Ssaava Kikonyogo, Kaaya is a nephew to former Kampala deputy RDC Joyce Rugasa and without any connections to Buganda’s royalty.
“I know his [Kaaya] relatives from Rwanda; he is a stepson to Kiyinikibi Kisitu, a councillor for people with disabilities to Kalangala district council,” Ssebuliba said.
Kaaya’s close family relatives that spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed Ssebuliba’s narrative.
“The truth is, he is not a prince, he is born of a Burundian father who settled at Byerima village near Kalisizo [Kyotera district],” Kaaya’s relative said on Saturday. But Kaaya insisted he is a prince from the lineage of Ssekabaka Nakibinge Mulwanyammuli.
“I went through all the cultural initiation ceremonies and whoever is in doubt of my being a prince should come and go with me to Wamala and Wassozi and invoke the spirits to come and prove me wrong,” Kaaya said on Saturday.
He, however, confirmed his connections to Rugasa and Kiyinikibi Kisitu. In an article published by the Daily Monitor last month, Kaaya aka Prince Kimbugwe Nakibinge claimed to be one of the surviving grandchildren of late Kabaka Mwanga.
He claimed to be jointly managing the estate with Princes Jjunju Fredrick James, John Bemba, Joseph Kiyimba, Princesses Victoria Luwedde, Mariam Namusisi Nassiwa and Rosemary Nakamanya.
According to the administrators, none of the above is a rightful claimant over the land.
“Luwedde’s name is being dragged into this because she knows her share of the estate, which is clearly indicated in her father [Ssuuna Kiweewa’s] will,” Ssevume said.
The rest of the group members, according to the Kikonyogos, are part of a big racket targeting prime land in Kampala and its environs.
“There is a racket of land brokers in Kampala that is targeting properties of the royalty in Buganda because they know members of the royal family tend to be reluctant about following up on their properties,” Ssebuliba said.
In September 2015, the legal administrators of the estate filed a petition at the Land division of the High court seeking gains paid for the occupation of land, damages and an eviction order against Uganda Company Limited, Uganda Company Holdings, Mitchell Cotts Uganda Ltd, NSSF, NHCC, and JCRC.
According to the registered administrators of the land, Ssuuna Kiweewa leased part of the land to Gardhas Bargha, a one Captain Hill, a one Ormsby, Bishop John James Wills among others in 1911 for tea and tobacco growing.
The 99-year lease was then in 1958 transferred to the names of Uganda Company and later to Uganda Company Holdings in 1987 and subsequently to Mitchell Cotts Uganda Ltd without the consent of the administrators of the estate.
While the administrators are not willing to renew the lease, which expired in 2010, they also want a declaration by court that “all transactions creating various land titles carried out by Uganda Company Limited and Uganda Company Holdings are illegal and fraudulent.”
“There is no way you can issue freehold titles on land registered as private mailo,” Ssevume argued.