It ends in tears for UMSC as Uganda Land Commission issues final verdict on contested Jinja Land

NIGERIAN playwright Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka popularly known as Wole Soyinka is quoted as saying, “…when a leader encourages the culture of impunity, the society is lost and it makes the work harder for the rest of us…”, is a statement every Ugandan must adopt for peace and harmony to prevail.

It has ended in tears for the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) whose leaders ignored a court ruling over a stretch of land in Jinja City where a section of Muslims started the construction of an illegal perimeter wall even without any documentary proof of ownership.

Controversy that surrounded the land that has been the centre of conflict between a section of Jinja Muslims and the Jinja Regional Referral Hospital (JRRH) has finally been put to rest with the pronouncement of Uganda Land Commission (ULC).

During a stakeholders meeting held Wednesday 17 April 2024 in Kampala, the ULC officials told off the eight officials of UMSC led by the Jinja District Khadhi Shiekh Ismail Adi Basoga and a Jinja based lawyer that they have never allocated the land to them.

The JRRH team included the Board of Management chairperson Dr Charles David Mukisa, the Hospital Director Dr Alfred Yayi, the Principal Hospital Administrator David Ssemakula, Julius Naita, David Naluwairo and one Jinja based lawyer.

ULC wondered why the Mufti-led Mubajje group failed to challenge the High Court ruling of 18th April,2022 in which the presiding Judge, Justice Michael Elubu issued a permanent injunction against it(UMSC)and its agents prohibiting them from trespassing or continuing acts of trespass and interfering with the quiet possession of the land by ULC in favor of JRRH.

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The court also issued an Eviction Order against UMSC Jinja to vacate the land and that the illegally constructed road is closed, and that they should revert to the former access on Clive Road West.

“…in view of the above this Court deems it proper that the plaintiff’s User Department (JRRH) is entitled to an award of 150,000,000/= be borne by the defendant {UMSC})…” reads in part the 27 page court judgment.

The saga was blown off on 12 March 2024 when the Minister of State for Lands Dr Samuel Mayanja had a locus meeting and verbally handed over the land to the Muslims.

Without waiting for any legal document, the Muslims acted swiftly by pulling graders, which destroyed the crops of some health workers and started constructing a perimeter wall without approval from the Jinja City Council

As the issue intensified, Minister Mayajna wrote the second letter to the Acting Secretary ULC Andrew Nyumba saying he has since received letters of complaints from high ranking political leaders, namely the First Deputy Prime Minister Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng and the Minister for the Presidency Milly Babirye Babalanda that his locus visit had caused tension which should not be allowed to escalate.

The letter was issued on the eve of the planned stakeholders meeting in which Minister Mayanja, in the spirit of peace and harmony, guided as follows;

That the area covering the Muslim Cemetery be surveyed and titled, that the land claimed by JRRH should also be surveyed and boundaries opened .

He also requested that the meeting (which has already taken place)be held in what he calls an atmosphere that ensues lasting peace between the two neighbors(UMSC and JRRH) and lastly that the meeting should aim to conclude with a win-win formula for all stakeholders.

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The guidance seemed to have found no place in a matter that was handled legally and concluded by the High Court and so the Muslim Community that has injected money to construct the perimeter wall will now incur another expense of pulling it down.

At the start, a section of Muslim leaders led by councillor Falwa Kitakule shocked the public when he said they would not wait for any council authority approval of their plan to construct the perimeter wall.

The Muslim Community will also now close the gate and revert to the original one which had been in use for decades, something the leadership will find difficult and painful to implement, although it’s a court order.

The matter will now serve as a wake-up call to the UMSC that impunity may appear to work, but it’s not sustainable, especially when dealing with matters that should be sorted out legally through the court processes.

The Uganda Land Commission (ULC)is a semi autonomous land verification, monitoring and preservation organization, owned by the government which is mandated to document,verify,preserve and maintain land owned and/or administered by the government of Uganda.
Shortly after this,Shiekh Basoga promised to consult Mufti Shiekh Shaban Mubajje for guidance on the next course of action.

The post It ends in tears for UMSC as Uganda Land Commission issues final verdict on contested Jinja Land appeared first on Watchdog Uganda.

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