Speaker Anita Among

An adhoc committee of Parliament has been set up to investigate the Naguru-Nakawa land issues.

The Deputy Speaker, Anita Among who chaired the plenary sitting on Tuesday, 01 March 2022 said there are fights related to the Naguru – Nakawa land which she added has highlighted failures at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and the Uganda Lands Commission.

“The land has been parceled and is being cleared without these conflicts being resolved. It is a shame. It is time that we embarked on our oversight mandate to root out these vices from the operation of government departments and agencies,” Anita Among said.

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On 23 February 2022, the State Minister for Lands, Hon Sam Mayanja wrote to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, urging her to weigh in on the matter.

He said stakeholders had agreed to stop all activities on the Nakawa-Naguru land for three months to allow government come up with a solution.

The land in question was allotted to an investor, Opec Prime Properties in 2007 to construct a satellite city.

In 2018, Cabinet resolved to terminate the contract between Government and Opec Prime Properties after the company defaulted on its obligations.

The land was then repossessed by the Government through the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) which agreed to reallocate the land to new developers.

Part of the land was allocated Internal Medicine of Virginia PC that has received 15 acres and Uganda Heart Institute, 10 acres.

The Presidential directive to give land to Internal Medicine of Virginia PC was made on 20 October 2019 when President Yoweri Museveni wrote to then Lands Housing and Urban Development Minister, Hon Betty Amongi.

According to Mayanja, 18 companies have been allocated land by the Uganda Land Commission.

The committee will be chaired by Hon Dan Atwijukire (NRM, Kazo County).

Other Members are Hon Agnes Apea, Anthony Akol, Aisha Kabanda, Asuman Basalirwa, Jonathan Ebwalu, Dickson Kateshumbwa, Sarah Opendi and Ritah Atukwasa.

Background

Last year, the then State Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, said the land has been earmarked for the construction of a specialized medical centre.

“The Naguru-Nakawa land was government land where they had constructed low cost houses in 1960s but we came up with an idea to develop modern housing units. However, Opec Prime Properties did not have the capacity. Government usually gives developers five years to execute projects but they failed,” Dr. Baryomunsi said last year while presenting the 2016-2021 National Resistance Movement party manifesto report on housing sector performance in Kampala.

The minister added that the land in question had been repossessed by the Land Commission on behalf of government. He said the medical hub will complement the Naguru-China Friendship Hospital, the Iran Hospital, and the Uganda Heart Institute, which has also been given 10 acres from the same land for purposes of constructing a new health facility, as well as a Kenyan medical company and another company from United States of America.

On October 15, 2007, Opec Prime Properties – Uganda Limited entered into a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement with the government to redevelop the estate. The agreement provided for the construction to start within four years from the date of sealing the contract.

The prioritization of the displaced tenants as beneficiaries of the first housing units was provided for in a Memorandum of Understanding between the prospective investors, tenants’ association and government.

On October 14, 2013, President Museveni laid the foundation stone for the construction of the estate.

The project dubbed: “New Kampala” was expected to see the 160-acre land, formerly home to the Naguru-Nakawa low-cost housing units, redeveloped to have 1,747 flats, bungalows, commercial buildings, a five-star hotel, a referral hospital, schools, houses of worship and recreational facilities. Opec group said the fights between the Inspectorate of Government over the ownership of the land was what led to their exit.

President Yoweri Museveni on October 20, 2019, wrote to Lands Minister, Betty Amongi directing her to allocate 15 acres of the land to Internal Medicine of Virginia P.C.

“Sometimes back, I met our Ugandans of Arab origin who used to own Bismillahi restaurant in Mbarara in the 1960s. Their children are specialized medical doctors who run several medical facilities in America. I convinced them to come to Uganda and establish a specialized hospital and nursing home which they agreed to. They requested for part of Nakawa-Naguru to set up the facility. Given the urgent need to stop medical tourism and enable access to affordable specialized treatment by Ugandans, I hereby, direct that you allocate 15 acres of the said land to Internal Medicines of Virginia P.C” Museveni wrote.

On May 11, 2021, the then Lands Minister, Beti Kamya wrote to the Chairperson of Uganda Land Commission notifying her about the resolution of parliament on the report of the committee on physical infrastructure on the status of land at the former Nakawa-Naguru housing estate.

“Further reference is made to the letter dated April 16, 2021, from the Chairperson Parliamentary Committee on Physical Infrastructure. In both cases, parliament upholds the supremacy of Article 239 of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda in management of government land. The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to bring this matter to your attention for appropriate management of Naguru land” Kamya wrote then.

On November 2, 2021, wrote to His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni requesting for guidance on Naguru land.

“Cabinet took a decision in Minute 131 (CT2017) to repossess Naguru land and terminated the contract with Opec Prime. Upon re-entry of Naguru land by government, the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) as per its mandate and in accordance with your directive has been in the process of allocating the land at Naguru to eligible investors” reads the letter.

It continues, “Your Excellency, The Uganda Land Commission finalized the process of implementing the presidential and cabinet directive of land at Naguru between February 9-12, 2021”.

The summary of allocation is as follows: 15 acres to Internal Medicines of Virginia PC and 10 acres to Uganda Heart Institute.

Institutions already in existence on the land; 3.01 acres Nakawa division offices, 1.06 acres to Naguru infant primary school, 038 acres to St. Peter’s Church of Uganda, Relocation of Ntinda wholesalers from Nakawa to Naguru (2 acres), Roko over 7 acres and Multi Consults Limited over 2 acres.

President Museveni replied the letter from Lands and said he had directed the Attorney General to expedite the efforts.

In the same letter of November 2, 2021 to the President on the status of Nakawa-Naguru sites, he writes “When site visits to the land were done, it was established that Roko had only built a slab on 1.7 acres. Roko had subcontracted M/S Multi Consult to build town houses on 1 acre of the land.

“In light of the above, in all humility, I implore you to give green light to conclude all the process. The faster we get this issue of Naguru land out of the way, the better in order to pave way for development of the Eco-Satellite city as well as getting rid of mushrooming illegal constructions. This was on the instructions of the senior Minister (Hon. Judith Nabakooba) who is currently out of the country on official duties” Dr. Sam Mayanja wrote.

However, Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba has disowned the above letter from Dr. Mayanja saying she never sanctioned for it.

“My instructions are always on record, I don’t give verbal instructions. How can I give instructions when I don’t even know any of the applicants? I don’t know those people, I don’t handle that matter. That letter on Naguru-Nakawa land was written in my absence as I had travelled out of the country, and I don’t remember instructing anybody to write to the president on my behalf”.

She added “I don’t instruct other people to write to the president on my behalf, I write my letters. I don’t remember telling anybody to the president, something must be wrong somewhere”.