By Isaac Mutema
President Yoweri Museveni talks toughest about land grabbers. The Head of State at every turn and twist swears to deal harshly with any individual and entity messing up with bibanja holders.
But to a large section of the underprivileged Ugandans who their leader loves to characterize as peasants, Museveni’s vows are largely theoretical other than practical.
Those treating the leader’s vows with contempt include hundreds of bibanja holders in Ddwaaniro, Rakai who are at the mercy of a land-grabbing religious institution.
A month or so, this website exclusively broke the story of a church in Rakai which apart from spreading the word of the gospel, is shamelessly a land grabber.
Much as this saga involves many victims and has been going on for now two decades, leaders in Kampala continue merely to bark at land grabbers without biting them.
Let us jog your mind back a bit to the most intriguing bit about this particular land-grabbing saga, first and foremost. A gentleman known as Mesach Lubega, a relatively rich man, donated to this church the piece of land where it was originally built.
Years following his death, the church would go ahead and seal off the burial grounds of Lubega inclusive of land the deceased had left behind for the benefit and use of his family.
In the course of grabbing the donor’s land, the church ended up imprisoning his heir, a one Serubega, on charges of trespassing over the piece of land which Lubega had bequeathed to him.
Serubega would end up passing blood and dying off in prison and his wife was deprived of their share of the land by the church. Well, the church involved in the sinful conduct is known as Ddwaaniro Church of Uganda.
It is located in Ddwaaniro parish in Ddwaaniro Sub-County in the southwestern part of Uganda but most accurately under the traditional Chief Kamuswaga Kabumbuli Ssansa’s jurisdiction.
The church is under West Masaka Anglican Diocese supervised by Bishop Tamale Katumba and located at Kako Hill, Masaka.
The latest and exclusive intel on our desk indicates that the embattled church leadership lied to the Titles office in Masaka on the way to securing the land title it has been for years using to grab people’s bibanja.
The church wrote to the land office claiming there were no other bibanja holders over the land which they were seeking to acquire a title over.
The application was requesting the conversion of a total of 8.399 hectares of the then community tenure land to Freehold Tenure.
Wait on dear readers; we are going soon to expose the freehold tenure of land to be the source of massive land grabbing taking place on such a massive scale currently that it would appear only God’s intervention can stop the robbery.
Revealingly, the application indicates that such an extensive chunk of land happened to be occupied by only the Anglican Church, its affiliated primary school, residential houses for teachers plus a playground without anyone else.
Never mind, as we have previously revealed that the Anglican Church had been originally given a gift of a plot of land measuring only 100 by 100 feet.
Whereas one of the nearest neighbours is indicated on the application as the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church ended up including the land of the neighbour as well on the ultimate title.
Either by an act of connivance or rather lack of oversight, the Titles office went ahead and lazily issued out the title to the leadership of Ddwaaniro Church of Uganda.
In an ideal situation, upon receipt of an application for issuance of a title, the Titles Office is supposed to detail its officials to go out to the scene and physically confirm the genuineness of the boundaries or size of the land as stated by the applicant.
Yet, in this case, under review, this was never done. Any wonder then, the Titles Office ended up doling out to the church in question acres of free bibanja based on such kind of collusion or lack of oversight by the titles office in Masaka.
The bibanja given away freely to the church include community land holding natural springs, access roads, playgrounds and even land owned by another church which is Catholic oriented.
Be that as it may, many actions have been taken over many years beginning as far back as the 1990′ to undo this lease to recover the bibanja from the church which irregularly acquired them.
But all such holy efforts have been met with outright frustration by not only the culprit church but also the superiors at Masaka West Diocese.
To start with, the Ddwaaniro Sub-County land committee has since gone on record to disassociate itself from the process of acquiring the title by the area Anglican Church.
We have proof of the action taken by the area land committee to expose the sleaze. Proof thereof is a letter dated October 30, 2015.
The letter is addressed to the Chief Administrative Officer(CAO) of Rakai. The subject is Misuse of office by Mr Kibuule Musoke, Parish chief of Lwakaloolo.
The land committee via the letter accuses Kibuule of forging the signatures of its two officials namely John Kalumuna and Cate Nassazi.
As it turns out, such deceit was intended to render proof for the Anglican church that after all, the area land committee had cleared the move to acquire the contested title finally issued out to the church.
” The above practice has created a lot of confusion in the area. This is because as the Sub-County land committee we didn’t have a chance to visit the land in question to establish whether it was not occupied,” the committee share.
The concerned area committee duly opened the case of forgery and impersonation against the Kibuule vide RKI-CRB/043/14.
The case was opened in the year 2014. See, eight years later, nothing has ever been done by the police to prosecute Kibuule!
Either the case was left there on the police shelves to gather dust, at best, or thrown at the dustbin to rot off, at worst.
Enough for today. Let us give to you time and space to grapple with the rot with have covered here for the time being.
Next time we shall share with you how the State House has tried and failed to resolve this matter on many occasions.
Continue following us and thank you.