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Land title of a university goes missing

The land title of Uganda’s Kyambogo University has mysteriously disappeared from the registry of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), putting more than 407 acres of the university land in jeopardy.

This comes as Kampala District Land Board (KDLB) is claiming ownership of part of the university land dubbed “Kyambogo link land”.

The vice-chancellor of Kyambogo University, Prof Eli Katunguka, yesterday told Daily Monitor in an interview that after realising that the KDLB was claiming part of the university land, they sent their lawyers to place a caveat on the property but the land title was missing from the KCCA registry.

“The lawyers informed me that while they were trying to follow up, they were informed that the title is not reflected on the land information systems at KCCA land office. Neither is the physical file in the archives of the KCCA land office,” Prof Katunguka said.

He said they are left with one option of retrieving the physical file from the Ministry of Lands.
Meanwhile, KDLB hired two tractors which demolished the fence that the university had erected on the site and started demarcating and grading the land without the knowledge of the university management.

The chairperson of KDLB, Mr David Balondemu, said the land does not belong to Kyambogo University but belongs to them and they want to use it for other activities.

He also said Kyambogo University has a wrong title and KDLB is going to process a fresh title for the land.
“No one has a title to this land. The fact is it falls under our jurisdiction, our surveyors are already on ground. We have taken possession and we are doing surveys,” Mr Balondemu said.

According to information from KDLB, this particular land was degazetted from the catchment area on the Kinawataka stretch in 2017 after the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) asked Cabinet to degazette it.

The information indicates that the land was left without ownership and was consequently repossessed by government and since the Constitution allows KDLB to take over land without ownership, they took it over.
On Sunday, KDLB held a meeting with Nakawa District local leaders, who were headed by the Resident City commissioner (RCC), and advised them to pave way for KDLB to use the land promising to compensate them in return.

Richard Bakarugaba, the Local Council chairman for K6 Zone where this land is located, said they are ready to work with KDLB because it has promised to compensate them adding that they cannot work with Kyambogo University because they have been threatening to evict them.

When contacted yesterday, the KCCA spokesperson, Ms Daniel Muhumuza Nuwabine, said they were working hard to establish where exactly the university land title files are.

Prof Katunguka said they have the land title for the whole university land, including the one KDLB is claiming and the Ministry of Lands is aware.

He also said he would write to the Office of the President and State House Anti-Corruption Unit and the Minister of Lands, and other relevant authorities to intervene and save the university land.

Background

Prof Eli Katunguka said when Uganda Polytechnic Kyambogo (UPK), Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo (ITEK), and Uganda National Institute of Special Education (UNISE) were merged to form Kyambogo University, more than 200 staff from the institutions, who had by then retired, refused to vacate the land and are currently occupying 137 acres.

In 2010, Prof Katunguka says the university started negotiating how to compensate them so that they vacate the land to pave way for other use and in 2016 and 2020 tried to evict them.

He, however, said various local leaders opposed the move and requested for a halt, saying it would reduce government votes adding that was when KDLB started claiming the land belongs to them.

Prof Katunguka also said the university has since 2010 allocated portions of land to National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Inter-university Council of East Africa, Nurses and Midwifery Institute and Ministry of Education and during this, the land title was available.

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