In a move that could be interpreted to have been a tactic to avoid hard grilling State Minister for lands Persis Namuganza threw the title “the President” in each of her responses to the land probe committee.
Minister Namuganza was appearing before the commission in connection with her alleged involvement in the disputed chunk of land in Mubende District which government wants to buy for the sitting tenants.
Minister Namuganza defended herself against the accusations saying everything she did was blessed by “the President” whom she continuously briefed throughout the process. That she picked only a few purported landlords of the three square miles of land to meet President Yoweri Museveni for compensation, leaving others behind.
She said Museveni had requested to meet a only few people of those claiming ownership of the said land located in Butoroogo and Madudu sub counties. She said Museveni wanted to resolve the ownership issue but not to pay the money to the claimants as claimed by her accusers.
She said the president wanted to meet a few people at State House because he would later meet a big number of the affected people when he visits Mubende district sometime in the future to establish the whole truth before government can commit payments for the land.
It is alleged that Namuganza worked together with state minister for Kampala Benny Namugwanya Bugembe to select only a few claimants of the said land in Mubende.
Some of the purported land owners taken to State House included Blasio Musoke Lule and Ms Milly Naava Namutebi. They were said to have claimed for compensation of the land whose ownership is under investigation by the ministry of internal affairs and other agencies.
Lule is said to have asked the Museveni to let government pay them Shs4 billion in cash for one Square mile of the land. Namuganza however said that at the meeting at in Entebbe, Museveni told the group that government was not ready to buy the land due to the disputes on it.
She added another group had said that a square mile of that land has on it Buganda cultural sites and as such it cannot be sold off.
The commission is investigating accusations of forceful evictions, destruction of property, unlawful arrests and threatening violence against a retired primary school teacher, Ms Namutebi and a senior army officer in charge of administration at Mubende Rehabilitation Centre, Maj. Eric Kigamboha.
The incidents, reportedly took place in three sub counties of Buwekula, Butoroogo and Madudu between 2010 and 2018.
Yesterday Mr Herman Byakatonda, one of the evictees testified that Ms Bugembe linked them to Minister Namuganza took them to State House to meet President Museveni after being assured by the minister that Museveni would pay the money to the owners of the disputed land.
“The minister told us not to say anything. She told us to let her talk to the president to convince him to pay off the landlords,” said Mr Byakatonda who added that nothing much came out of the meeting in terms of compensation as the president upon finishing consultations, appointed a team to carry out a fact-finding mission on ground.
Yesterday two sisters Hajati Fatuma Namutebi and Sarah Nalubega testified in connection with the disputed land.
Last week, the land probe ordered for the arrest Ms Namutebi and Mr Musoke for defying witness summons which required them to appear and explain fresh accusations on the
The Commission is inquiring into the law, processes and procedures in land acquisition, land administration, and management across the country.