A retired civil servant Mr Wycliffe Kato has run to social media to protest against four tycoons including the National Resistance Movement Vice Chairman, Moses Kigongo whom he accuses of intentionally grabbing his land.
Kato claims that Kigongo through fronting cronies Mansoor Matovu alias Yanga and Abdul Yanga famous for ownership of Namaganda Plaza and many other malls in Kampala have embarked on trying to grab the prime land located in Kabalagala, a city suburb on plots 309, 317, 335 & 368.
“They purchased a very tiny plot 310 of Block 245 at Kabalagala junction and using this have encroached on the road reserve of Muyenga – Kabalagala road, encroaching on Plots 309, 317, 335 & 368 and have blocked my properties by building on the entrance of the major property on the land. They build on this land forcefully at night and use guns to threaten anyone who intervenes,” Kato claims
“All efforts to get intervention from KCCA, Uganda Police and the Catherine Bamugemerere Land Commission have fallen on deaf ears,” he adds.
In February, Kato wrote to the Town Clerk of Makindye Division citing an illegal construction on the said land. In the letter, Kato raised alarm over the duo whom he now claimed were constructing a shop on the said land.
Accordingly, the owner of the shop insisted that the plot 335 belonged to him despite showing no evidence for it.
Kato says that he had complained initially to the LC1 chairman of the area, the DPC Kabalagala Police Station on January 24 and KCCA on January 15 but all pulled out after receiving threats.
At a later stage, the DPC organized an impartial surveyor to survey the disputed land, only to find out the said surveyor had been paid off to bias the report in favour of encroachers Yanga and Abiola.
The surveyors report which Nile Post has obtained indicates that the said land instead belongs to the late Ham Mukasa thus the title deeds obtained by Kato of the same land inconsequential.
“This is not true because I bought plot 368 from the late Ham Mukasa’s son, the heir, in 1988, His father, who sold me plot 335 in1986, had died. I had earlier bought plot 309 and 317 from the late Ssemwanga in 1985. All land titles of plots 309, 317, 335 and 368 are in my name and available,” Kato states.
To invalidate the report from surveyors, Kato sought help of Ministry of Lands which confirmed he was indeed owner of the said properties on February 12.
“Reference is made to your request for a search. This is to inform you that the following entries appear on the tittles registers as follows; Tittle: Land at Kiuliriza Makindye Division Block 245 Plot No 335. Reg Proprietor: KIggundu Wycliffe Kato, registered on 08/07/1986 at 12:15pm,” a statement from lands reads in part.
But Kato states that in spite of all this, the group continued constructing at night on his land without being stopped by authorities.
“The Police made them so untouchable that Yanga started boasting how no one will be able to touch them as soon as they rent out the shop.”
“He kept flashing his gun and telling us no one can stop him, he threatened our lives,” Kato added.
Playing games with Police and KCCA
In a letter to the KCCA Director of Physical Planning dated January 15, a copy which Nile Post obtained, Kato expressed concern that the encroachers were playing hide and seek with Police and KCCA officials at the expense of him losing his plot of land.
He specifically indicated that a police post situated less than a meter from the construction work did nothing to solve the situation.
“The builders have been playing the police and KCCA, a game of hide and seek while building at night. This is still going on till today. The policemen at the Police booth less than a meter away protect the illegal builders instead of protecting us who had even given them a copy of the land title,” the letter reads in part.
How Kigongo comes in
According to Kato, he thought the fight was all over until one evening, a car belonging to Kigongo drove into the site, its occupant who later turned out to be Kigongo jumped out and made a few inspections before entering the car and zooming away.
Many times, Yanga and his colleague Abiola had joked about the fact that he cannot fight someone big in government.
“They kept telling me, tosobola kulwanyisa munene (You cannot fight a big fish), I did not know what they meant until, I saw Kigongo with my own eyes,” he said.
Kato’s son, David Kato also insists the NRM Vice Chairman has visited the premises a number of times to do inspections.
“I am so disappointed a full Vice Chairman can be involved with such characters like Yanga who are known thugs to grab our land with impunity,” David Kato told Nile Post.
A witness at the premises also when contacted said; “I have seen Hajji (Kigongo) many times here, it seems Yanga and Abiola are just his little dogs but he is the owner,” the witness said on condition of anonymity adding; “I don’t want to be between this issue, these people are lethal, they can do anything to me,” he added.
However, when contacted, Masoor Matovu dismissed the claims by Kato, saying that Kato should solve his issues with KCCA which is after him for trying to construct in a road reserve. Yanga said that he has better things to do than fight over a piece of land that can not cost even Shs200m.
“I drive a car worth a billion, and you think I have time to fight with that mad man (Kato) over just 1 or 2 decimals? That man has a mental issue and you should not take him serious,” Yanga said.
“He is trying to build in the road reserve, and when Authorities try to stop him, he comes complaining that it is Yanga. I built shops in my land, and sought permission from KCCA to put pavers which i did. Kato has a residential house in the area and wants to put kiosks after his perimeter wall, where people pass and that is between him and KCCA, not Yanga,” he added.
The tycoon denied any allegations of land grabbing, stating that it is his neighbour Kato with a problem. He said the pavers that are in the said land are a KCCA policy.
Yanga maintained that he has not threatened Kato, dismissing reports that he owns a gun.
“Noway, I have no gun, guns are for the army and police, oh and may be Abudu Kitatta, I am not Kitatta and it is not true that i have threatened anyone with a gun. Just like I told you, that man is mad,” he said.
On whether he is a frontier for NRM’s Moses Kigongo and his involvement, Yanga said the former is only his brother (Our mothers are sisters) and that should explain his involvement.
“Kigongo is my brother and his involvement could be on that basis, but I am not his frontier. Of course he comes to check on me or my businesses as my elder,” Yanga added.