Buganda Kingdom has formally raised concerns over the sale of the Kaazi camping site land by the leaders of the Uganda Scouts Association.
In a letter dated October 25, 2023, the Buganda Land Board (BLB), the entity responsible for managing Buganda Kingdom land, has petitioned the Commissioner of Land Registration, requesting the cancellation of all titles acquired on the 120 acres of land situated in Kaazi, Wakiso district.
Their argument is that these titles were improperly obtained.
BLB has contested the subdivision and sub-leasing of the land by the Uganda Land Commission (ULC), which occurred without the consent of the Kabaka of Buganda, who is the registered owner of the land.
According to the lease terms, the land was designated exclusively for camping purposes, and any division, sub-leasing, or alienation of the land was prohibited, which has been violated.
Buganda Kingdom is now seeking to regain control of the land, as the terms of ownership have allegedly been unlawfully changed from a camping site to commercial and residential use.
The Kingdom has also criticised the issuance of titles by ULC and the Ministry of Lands without the knowledge or approval of the registered proprietor, the Kabaka.
BLB asserts that ULC has no legitimate interest in the land, as its mandate over the land ceased by operation of the law in 1993. In response, BLB has placed a caveat on the land to prevent further transactions.
Documentary evidence reveals that some leaders of the Uganda Scouts Association obtained a substitute certificate of title with the assistance of certain ULC officials before subdividing and sub-leasing part of the land to two companies: M/s Serena Heights Kaazi Ventures and M/s Sky and Lakes Limited. These companies subsequently began parceling out the land for commercial and residential purposes.
The records from the Uganda Registration Services Bureau indicate that Serena Heights Kaazi Ventures was established in 2022, while M/s Sky and Lakes Limited was incorporated in 2011.
The sub-leases to these companies were endorsed by all members of the scouts’ association leadership and witnessed by officials from the National Scouts Board. Notably, one listed witness, Lucy Nakyobe, did not sign the document.
Prominent individuals, including Bishop Nelson Onono Onweng, Patrick Barugahare Mujuni, and Dr. John Mugisha, who serve as trustees of the Uganda Scouts Association, are among those involved in signing the sub-leases.
Chief Scout Dr. Maggie Kigozi, Richard Kamya, and Lawrence Kazoya, on behalf of the National Scouts’ board, also witnessed these transactions.
The disputed land, located in Kyadondo Block 273, Plot 5, is part of the 350-square-mile area known as Olusukulwa Kabaka (the Kabaka’s plantation).
Recently, Brig Gen. Moses Lukyamuzi, the head of the presidential special task force on lands and environment, halted further development on the land while investigations are ongoing. Armed individuals have resisted those attempting to cut down trees and grade the land.
The Ministry of Education, which oversees the activities of the Uganda Scouts Association, claims to have no knowledge of the sub-divisions or sub-leases on the scouts’ land.
Dr. Dennis Mugimba, the ministry’s spokesperson, stated that the commissioner for physical education and sports, responsible for scouting, would investigate the matter and report to the Education Minister and First Lady, Janet Museveni.
Despite repeated attempts to contact Dr. Maggie Kigozi for a comment, she has not responded.
Bishop Onweng, one of the scouts’ association trustees, urged scouts to reach out to him directly for explanations regarding the sub-leases on the Kaazi land.
The 120-acre piece of land is located 12 kilometers off Entebbe Road, on the shores of Lake Victoria, and has served as the national scouts’ camping site since 1948 when it was granted to them by Sir Edward Muteesa II.
Documents show that the Uganda Scouts Association initially secured a 49-year lease from Muteesa himself.
In 1967, the land came under the management of ULC after the government’s seizure of all Buganda Kingdom properties following the 1966 crisis.
In 1988, ULC renewed the lease under similar terms for 99 years. However, when the government returned Buganda Kingdom properties in 1993 through the Traditional Rulers (Restitution) of the Assets and Property Act, the land reverted to Buganda Kingdom.
Notably, the estate administrators of the late Sir Daudi Chwa I, Prince Kalema Kimera, and Princess Nalinya Nandaula had previously claimed ownership of the land. In 2017, they filed a lawsuit against the Kabaka of Buganda, BLB, the Commissioner of Registration, and the Attorney General, seeking a declaration of their ownership.
However, the Principal Judge, Dr. Flavian Zeija, dismissed the case on September 28, 2020, citing that it was barred by the Limitation Act. The act allows for a 12-year period within which a land recovery lawsuit can be initiated, and the judge questioned why it took the petitioners 93 years to file their suit.
It’s essential to note that Kaazi is not just a campsite; it also serves as a conservation area.