Entebbe mayor dismisses Manyago land eviction threats

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Entebbe mayor dismisses Manyago land eviction threats
Manyago Housing Estate in Entebbe municipality | Lawrence Mushabe

Last week, a group of residents led by their lawyer Stanley Oketcho, from GEM Advocates, cried foul, saying they were at risk of being evicted after the municipal council leased out the land to a third party without their knowledge.

By Lawrence Mushabe

ENTEBBE | Entebbe Municipality mayor Fabrice Rulinda has allayed fears that tenants at Manyago Housing Estates over potential eviction.

Mayor Rulinda, during a media briefing in Entebbe on Monday, said the municipal council has no knowledge about anyone with the lease agreement over Manyago Housing Estate, nor do they intend to lease the land to anyone without following the law.

“Our intention is get the value of that land from the Chief Government Valuer - which is the due process as per the law while disposing off land - and then we sell to the sitting tenants,” he said.

Last week, a group of residents led by their lawyer Stanley Oketcho, from GEM Advocates, cried foul, saying they were at risk of being evicted after the municipal council leased out the land to a third party without their knowledge.

"Whereas the court in the consent judgement directed that the sitting tenants are the ones to take the first priority in buying the land, we have since established that Entebbe Municipal Council created another lease over the same piece of land which ordinarily would be going to the sitting tenants,” the tenants said.

Nile Post has seen a copy of the contested lease agreement between Entebbe Municipal Council and a one Bugembe Kaggwa Ssegujja for a period of 49 years starting January 20, 2023.

Documents also show that Ssegujja bought the land on lease for a paltry Shs20 million as the premium and an annual rent of Shs100,000.

Whereas Entebbe Municipal Council entered the consent judgement with the sitting tenants of Manyago Estate in 2020, the lease to Ssegujja by the municipal council shows it was entered in March 2011.

It raises concern of how the municipal council entered a consent judgement with the tenants in 2020, many years after it had leased the same land to Ssegujja.

But Mayor Rulinda dismissed leasehold claims, saying it would be sad to find someone with a lease on an existing land title that is pending a court order.

“I find it funny that someone got a lease in 2011 but says he paid in 2023," the mayor said. "As far as 2023, I know we pay electronically, I want him to provide a receipt that proves that he paid Entebbe Municipal Council such amount of money."

Mayor Fabrice Rulindo

He said if Ssegujja indeed paid for the land, a bank would have generated a Payment Reference Number (PRN). But Rulinda wondered what such a PRN would be generated for.

The press briefing was also attended by key stakeholders including the estate leaders from Manyago.

Manyago Housing Estate representative Veronica Nsubuga appealed to the municipal council to resolve the matter fast to avoid the unrest from the residents.

“We don’t know why the Chief Government Valuer has taken all this long to intervene, we guess these land dealers use the chance based on the slowness of the process,” Nsubuga said.

Manyago Housing Estate vice chairperson Deus Bbale called for calm as the matter is being resolved.

“No one can be evicted from this estate, no one has ever approached us to leave this area," he said.

Ssegujja denies he intended to evict the tenants and insisted his agreement was genuine.

"I have my proper documents,” Ssegujja said, adding that he will soon write to the municipal council to seek consent and guide on how he should effect the agreement on his property.

“I’m a Ugandan, I can’t just evict people like that and I can’t be above the law but if it’s necessary, I can use legal means,” he said.

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