Dr. Apollo Kaggwa, a retired consultant physician, has accused the state minister of Lands and Urban Development Dr. Sam Mayanja of being used by land grabbers to drive him off his land which he acquired lawfully in the early 1990s.
Kaggwa (75), claims Mayanja is misusing his power as the Minister, noting that he has been engaging with wrong people who claimed that he evicted them from the land, an allegation which is not true.
On December 14, 2022, Kaggwa said the minister without offering him a fair hearing, attended a rally organised by these “fraudsters” and went ahead to order his arrest, instructing the group of people fighting him to take over his land. He said the minister’s action shocked him because he was never given a chance to defend himself.
“He (the minister) allegedly later even encouraged them using public media to carry pangas and other crude weapons to fight me on my land. These utterances set me up for disaster to the extent that my very own life was directly threatened,” he said.
Shortly after this incident, on January 18, 2023, Medard Lubega Sseggona, MP Busiro East made statement in what Kaggwa described as “embarrassingly outrageous false utterances” about him on the floor of parliament claiming that he had evicted over 2,000 people from the land under contention.
“I was shocked and extremely disappointed by the scathing declarations made about me on such a public platform. The least Sseggona could have done would have been to visit the locus to know the truth and witness the facts since as a member of his constituency, he also represents me in parliament,” he said.
According to Kaggwa, land fraudsters in Wakiso District have for the last one month used the media to share “embarrassingly false and fabricated stories” about him in order to gain “deceptive sympathy” from the public and political leaders in the hopes that they will use their political platforms to steal his property.
Over the past 5 years, Kaggwa said land fraudsters have continuously attempted to steal his property by trying to convince various leaders in the community that he has no legal claim over his land. Kaggwa says he has occupied this land for the last 25 years.
“They have taken me through one hellish moment after another constantly destroying my crops, stealing my harvests, killing my animals, threatening my farm workers, digging up graves from other places and bringing the remains of unknown children and people to my property to scare me, carrying empty coffins to my land, among other unlawful things,” he said as he looked anguished.
Kaggwa was who was every upset, claimed that the Minister is making the situation by inciting the public against him.
“On Monday 23 January, 2023, the fraudsters organised a group of unknown people to vandalize my farm and terrorize my workers chiming that the minister told them to take over my land where I have been investing in various agricultural for over 30 years. As a result, a lot of my infrastructure was destroyed by these people in broad day light,” he said.
In December 2022, Minister Mayanja held a community meeting responding to the petition his ministry received from squatters from Kakunyu/ Nsekwa, Namusera village, Mende Subcounty in Wakiso who wanted protection from Kaggwa. This is where the 235 hectares of contested land is located.
These group of people claimed that Kaggwa evicted them from their bibanjas destroying all their property and burial places, a move which they said was very unfair to them.
In this engagement Kaggwa presented his land titles and other legal documents but the minister who did not give him attention said those documents were fake and useless. He accused Kaggwa of not having the land titles and evicting the squatters illegally.
He subsequently ordered for the arrest of Kaggwa but he was later released on police bond.
At the time of purchase, Kaggwa explained that the property had 20 squatters (Bibanja holders) all of whom were compensated as agreed and proof of the relevant agreements was available for verification.
“All the other Kibanja claimants are not known to me or my family. I and my family have been through great suffering emotionally, mentally, financially, spiritually, and physically in trying to protect our simple, hard-earned property,” he said.
Kaggwa has since petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Annet Among requesting for just treatment, a fair hearing, protection of his hard-earned property and exoneration of his name.
“Over 100 unknown persons attacked my farm with pangas and machetes, probably, having heeded to the incitement of Hon. Dr. Sam Mayanja in the media,” Kaggwa wrote in his petition seen by the Nile Post.
When contacted for a comment on this issue, Mayanja said he was too busy to talk to us but he promised to give us some time this week.
Kaggwa’s lawyer, Ezra Nyalwa said although the Uganda Police and the RDC of Wakiso have started investigations on this matter and there are several cases that are ongoing in the Courts of law on the same. He asked the minister to leave the court to do its work and stop interfering with this issue.