Buikwe Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Hajjati Hawa Ndege is facing strong accusations of conniving with unscrupulous land dealers to seize valuable plots of land from unsuspecting residents. Among the affected, is the family of the Late Alexander Kiwombojjo whose plot of land is located at Ngogwe Sub-county in Buikwe District, which is currently at the centre of controversy.

Kiwombojjo’s land is on Block 239 Kyaggwe measuring approximately 16 acres. This, according to Nicholas Lumiisa, one of the property administrators and son of the Late Kiwombojjo, the contested plot of land is where Kiwombojjo used to cultivate crops specifically sugarcane until he passed on in 2020 at the age of 84.  

“Following his passing, the land lay idle and gradually became overgrown with bushes over time. But last year, Kiwombojjo’s estate administrators decided to repurpose the land for sugarcane cultivation. The decision came after a family meeting and extensive discussions involving all the children and it later culminated in a collective agreement.” He told URN in an interview.  

He notes that as they began preparations for the sugarcane project, they got some shocking news. Three men; Possiano Nsubuga, Robert Kizito, and Herbart Bosco Kiwanuka, accompanied by their mother Robinah Kitombo confronted them claiming to the administrators the estate of the Late Wasswa Batulumayo and the rightful owners of the land.

When asked to provide proof of ownership, Kitimbo and his sons vanished into thin air, leaving everyone bewildered. Kitimbo later resorted to bribery, reportedly paying police officers at Ngogwe to halt all the activities on the land. However, upon the intervention of John Lukooto the District Police Commander (DPC), the matter was thoroughly reviewed. He examined all the evidence presented by the two parties.       

The DPC later established that Kitimbo’s evidence lacked sufficient proof and Kiwombojjo’s administrators produced documentary evidence and then instructed that the sugarcane planting activities proceed without any further interruption. “Kiwomojjo was using this land uninterruptedly until his death and one comes out to claim his land, as police we can’t accept that unless one comes with proof of ownership and court order then we can act accordingly. But according to what I see his family is a bonafide Kibanja owner,” DPC Lukooto notes.

After planting approximately 12 acres of sugarcane, Kiwombojjo’s family received a letter from Hawa Ndege Namugenyi, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) through the LCI Chairperson of Kitenda-Ttama, Ngogwe sub-county inviting them for a meeting aimed at resolving the disputes between Kitimbo and Kiwombojjo families.

Upon arriving at the district boardroom, the RDC requested every person to switch off and surrender their phones to her assistant saying she did not want to be recorded while transacting business. However, one of the family members secretly used his second telephone to record a session of over 40 minutes shared with us.  Surprisingly, the meeting started without any introductions as neither the attendees nor the RDC introduced themselves.

In the meeting, the RDC stated that the family of the Late Kiwombojjo was illegally occupying and developing the disputed land by planting sugarcane. “Under the law, a Kibanja owner is not supposed to buy a plot of land bigger than three acres, is not supposed to establish a long-term investment, long-term investments can only be done by landlords. Bibanja owners only grow food crops like beans, cassava, and potatoes,” Buikwe RDC told the meeting.

The complainant headed by their mother Robinah Kitimbo insisted that their family has lived in the area for so long, and their family has been watching over and monitoring the said land, something they claim to be enough evidence to be the rightful landlords.  Nicholas Lumiisa, one of the Late Kiwombojjo’s sons, informed the RDC that their late father bought 16 acres of land in different portions. Records indicate that Kiwombojjo used to pay land fees to a different landlord in the name of Israel Wasswa. “Your honor we have the agreements of purchase and receipts of land fees payment to different landlords, not the complainant,” Lumiisa clarified.

The meeting then turned into a scene of humiliation as the RDC took sides, demanding that they produce purchase agreements before expressing doubt about the legitimacy of the said agreements.  “I am not willing to receive copies forged at Nasser Road, my office can prove anything, I have all the powers to decide as I want and you have nowhere to report me,” she uttered in a loud-threatening voice.

“Anyone dissatisfied with my ruling will have to go to court, spend money, and the following day I enter my office and drink tea as I wait for others,” she stated. Despite the RDC’s arrogant and humiliating character, Martin Bulanja, one of the administrators of the Kiwombojjo estate, promised to deliver the genuine documents confirming their ownership as a Kibanja owner.

Ultimately, the RDC (Namugeyi) instructed that the Late Kiwombojjo’s family or administrators halt any activities regarding the planting of sugarcane. However, she confirmed that the three administrators on the side of the complainant (Batulumayo Wasswa) are genuine, without letters confirming them. According to Kiwombojjo’s heir, Solomon Ssekatawa, they have invested nearly Ugx 40 million to establish the sugarcane growing project which currently requires weeding but the RDC’s directive hampered further activities.

“During the meeting, she did not give us chance to speak, even when I insisted put up my hand, she instead told me I lacked common sense yet I claimed to be a Muganda but behaved like someone who comes from Bunyonro. In the room, there were famous land dealers from Kawanda, Up to now I am asking myself the role they had in our meeting. After the meeting they toured our land, possibly they paid the RDC to support their dubious actions,”  Ssekatawa noted.  

Attempts by our reporter to get the RDC’s comment on Friday were unsuccessful as she wasn’t in office at the time. Still, the inquiries we made via her WhatsApp inbox for further clarification met with a promise to respond in a week when she returned to the office.  We wanted to know what led to her decision to halt the sugarcane growing on the land where the complainant had failed to present the title. In her response, she noted the inquiries were too many almost forming an essay for her to read and respond to, she promised to read and respond on Tuesday next week when she returns to the office. 

In the recorded sound during the May 15, meeting she emphasized that bibanja owners are not allowed to plant cash crops without permission from landlords as possess over three acres of land. She does not believe in the payment of land fees by tenants claiming that the amount paid is too little. She is recorded saying, “Anyone who thinks of paying land fees of Ugx10,000, should put it in an envelope and take it to their mothers to buy beef,” she said.

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