KAMPALA – A retired physician at the rank of consultant Dr Apollo Kaggwa has accused State Minister of Lands and Urban Development Dr Sam Mayanja of conniving with land grabbers to drive him off his land – he lawfully acquired in the 90s.
Kaggwa, 75, claims Mayanja is abusing his office as Minister – engaging wrong people who claimed that he had evicted them from the same land – whereas not.
Kaggwa narrates how on December 14, 2022 the minister – without offering him a fair hearing – attended a rally, which the said fraudsters had organised – ordered for his arrest and furthermore instructing the same group of people to take over his land – which actions left him shocked.
“He (the minister) allegedly later, even encouraged them through public media to carry pangas (machetes) 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,” noted Dr Kaggwa at a press conference held on Monday at the disputed property – located in Kakunyu village, Namusera parish – Wakiso district.
He added that shortly after this particular incident – on January 18, 2023, Medard Lubega Sseggona, the MP Busiro East – shockingly stated on the floor of parliament 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 hope that they would grab the advantage 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 said 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 narrated his ordeal in the presence of his lawyer –Ezra Nyalwa.
“On Monday 23 January, 2023, the fraudsters organised a group of unknown people to vandalise my farm and terrorise my workers claiming 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 sub-county in Wakiso who wanted protection against Kaggwa. This is where the 235 hectares of contested land is located.
The group claimed that Kaggwa evicted them from their bibanjas – destroying all their property and burial places – a move which they said was very unfair.
In this engagement Kaggwa presented his land titles and other legal documents but the minister – without due attention declared documents as fake and useless. He accused Kaggwa of evicting the squatters, illegally – subsequently ordering his arrest. 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, and 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,” Mayanja wrote in his petition seen by the Nile Post.
Minister Mayanja declined to comment about the issue – claiming to be busy.
Kaggwa’s lawyer, Nyalwa said although the Uganda Police and Wakiso RDC had launched investigations into the matter – there were several cases that are on-going 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.