receive letter of complaint here in attached to the Director of Physical Planning Kampala Capital City Authority (KCC) and covers narrative report of how Human Rights violations take place, with intimidation and harassment of Komamboga residents, and how their land has and continues to grabbed by fellows under the Manchester Development Initiative(MDI), whose chairman is a distinguished Law, and Deputy Director Public Prosecutions, Mr Michael Wamasebu.
Komamboga village is in Kawempe North Division, Kampala District.
MDI is a dubious organisation set up by a few individuals to grab residents’ land under the disguise of developing the area like road repairs. An extensive investigation on MDI and its officials has been carried our, concluded and report handed over to relevant authorities with evidence to cross check. Some of the issues raised could tantamount to criminal cases. The matter has, and continues to be brought to the attention of relevant authorities.
Stephen Ouma Bwire
JOURNALIST – RESIDENT – HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST
KOMAMBOGA VILLAGE, KAWEMPE NORTH DIVISION, KAMPALA DISTRICT
Tel/mobile: +256 – 752643296, +256 – 702643296
TO THE DIRECTOR OF PHYSICAL PLANNING
KAMPALA CAPITAL CITY AUTHORITY (KCCA)
RE: HARASSMENT, EXTORTION, LAND GRABBING IN KOMAMBOGA
I would to bring to your attention a scenario where a group calling itself Manchester Development Initiative (MDI) has taken over the duties of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) in Komamboga, Kawempe North Division in Kampala.
Probably taking over the duties of KCCA could not have been as bad as it appears if they were not committing “crimes against humanity” as I will explain below:
The group under the chairmanship of Mr Michael Wamasebu, Deputy Director Public Prosecutions (DPP), is “subversively” destabilizing residents by removing their perimeter walls and houses under the pretext of repairing roads in the area.
They have budgeted Ushs 16.9 million which they are forcefully extorting from residents whom they harass into submission. Considering what they plan to achieve and what is achievable under the present terrain in the area, road experts have told us that figure is outrageous and aimed at duping, fleecing and conning residents into oblivion.
This group has created insecurity in the area by harassing residents physically and psychologically, keeping residents on tension that their houses and/or perimeter fences are being demolished
MDI that has now achieved a name of being the Under Development Initiative (UDI) in Komamboga, is threatening to demolish residents’ houses and perimeter fences under the pretext of repairing the roads. The hidden agenda of this group which we have investigated and obtained overwhelming evidence is to frustrate poor residents into disgruntlement culminating into them selling away their land.
The oppressed residents who are disgruntled and voiceless have had to endure the wrath of this group because they lack the ability to come out openly to defend themselves against “oppressors”. There has been growing suppression of voices of dissent, whose feeble cries are being curtailed by these fellows who conduct themselves like they hold shares in every resident’s property.
The group is selectively applying guideless for repairing the roads to evade affecting their committee members who constructed houses in “what KCCA calls “road reserves”. For instance there are committee members whose main gates open from outside the road thereby inconveniencing road users who cannot drive through the road because the fellow has opened his gate to drive out, moreover in reverse.
How is the law applied in this country that the right lining of the DDPP’s fence is on the road reserve more than mine, but KCC has the audacity to classify my perimeter fence as an object in the road reserve. Which law did they apply?. When I called Mr Othieno Godwin, a Physical Planner with KCCA, Directorate of Physical Planning (KCCA), to explain why he served me a notice yet people whose fences are hanging in the road were left, he confessed that he is new in Kampala and has not taken trouble to inspect the area. A senior Administrator cautioned him never to take a decision without out investigating and proving whether there could not be similar or worse individuals that he left out. Mr Othieno confessed to having been called by one of the committee members, some of whom are significantly encroachers on the government road and have built houses on the gazetted 5 – meters road reserve connecting Ddungu Zone to Komamboga Central.
There are committee members whose gates are hanging in the middle of the road but the same culprits have asked KCCA to serve notices to other law – abiding residents whose perimeter fences are wide apart accounting for total width of 3.7 meters in accessible usable area.
As if this is not bad enough, and to our consternation, there are some committee members who grabbed land forcefully from a feeble widow and displaced orphans, to create access road to their plot after buying land without access road. And when the widow wanted to tap electricity from the man’s enclosure, the land – grabber did the most unthinkable inhumane act; by denying the widow whose land he grabbed access.
And all these acts of repression, “terrorism” ,“theft” and gross violation/abuse of human rights are taking place under the patronage of a distinguished Senior Lawyer in the area, who is supposed to be the custodian of “Justice” in Uganda.
Actually there has never been intrigue, repression, theft, harassment, intimidation, land – grabbing , enmity, and gross violation/abuse of human rights in Komamboga village like it is today after the Michael Wamasebu road committee came into existence.
How have they been able to dupe residents with precision and impunity?. This group thinks it owns the monopoly of knowledge and they have thrived on ignorance of villagers, lack of or little education and awareness by their victims, to unleash a systematic and orchestrated scheme of instilling torture, intimidation and terrorism as they grab land from residents or force residents to reduced the size of their plots so as to give access to their cars. But the same fellows have thinner roads leading to their main gates. What a contradiction. What irks residents most is that the same fellows have narrow roads leading to their gates but want to drive their cars into resident’s houses. Case in point is Committee chairman Mr Michael Wamasebu himself whose access road to his gate is a mere 2 meters and the rest of the road is covered by his flowers. Can residents who must drive past his gate bring large trucks to the area?. The answer is a big no. But why haven’t they complained. Wamazsebu’s immediate neighbor, having seen how the road was reduced, decided to reduce her part by growing grass on the sides. The same Wamasebu held a clandestine meeting where he shamelessly told his members that my perimeter fence is in the road and must be demolished. Residents who attended the meeting are on record and confirmed.
How could KCCA’s Othieno Godwin serve me notice of encroaching on road reserve on my own 3 .7 meters wide that I painfully cut off my plot and offered as land for the road free of charge beyond acceptable standards. Don’t you think I offered 3 – 7 meters for the road on condition that my fence would be part and parcel of that measurement and a barrier protecting my house against destructive objects moving on the road?. What about the person who has reduced the size of the road from the titled 4 meters as per records on area maps by Land Registry to 2 meters to give space for his flowers on the road?.
If you stop me from erecting a perimeter fence allegedly for reducing the size of the road then both the perimeter fence and the piece of land on which the fence stood plus the road I created, become nonexistent and non entities. I would therefore, and legally through courts of law, have the right to reclaim all my land that I donated for the road and therefore the road closes and ceases to exist?. Any legal expert, however amateurish he or she is, and any sane person can see this.
Where does this group get authority to bark at and harass grown up residents who own property acquired through rightful channels using hard – earned income?. Some residents think it is because this group perceives itself as “rich class” who must terrorize the poor residents as they form grab their land.. But no, by economic terms these fellows are as poor as the people they are terrorizing, and could be even poorer than their victims. Information available indicates and confirms these fellows attack people they consider to own bigger land than theirs. Otherwise how do we explain their systematic, continuous haste for repression and unremitting enthusiasm in land – grabbing from residents.
This fact is illustrated further and confirmed beyond reasonable doubt that this clique now popularly known as “terrorists”, are poor and that is the more reason they failed to purchase land in the posh Kololo, Naguru l, Nakaserol and Muyenga hills, ending up to settle in the remote and cheap Komamboga village. So why do they think they are rich who should therefore continue oppressing peaceful residents. This group is made up of poor fellows living among the poor and in a poor environment.
So what perimeters do they use to rate themselves as rich, and to harass peaceful and long – time landlords. The qualification of residing in Komamboba village, like in any other area in Uganda or abroad, is the financial ability one has to either rent accommodation or purchase land, build and own a home of oneself.. So where does a another resident, even if he was the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, get authority to terrorize other residents who purchased land using their own money unlike some people who could have used government money and therefore tax – payers money that we all pay to construct their hoses, therefore matter investigation. We have Local Council officials in the area who oversee day – today operations in the area not this new group.
I have checked, read and internalized the docket and guidelines that govern the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions; I cannot see road construction and land administration as one of its roles. I beg to be assisted maybe the roles exist but I am blind to see and read properly. This official should make himself relevant to the environment by educating the residents on need for observance of justice, law and order or even Law reforms like proposed abolition of bail than giving sanctuary to land – grabbers and human rights violators.
What logical reason can they give for denying me a perimeter fence yet they have theirs standing, and in the middle of the road?. My perimeter wall in question lies on the same gradient with that of the DDPP who is new in the area and found me already settled there. And because of the wall of the DDPP extending to the access road, the road was bent to allow his wall to exist but he has the audacity to attack a person whose perimeter wall is straight leaving a width of 3.7 meters for the road.
And I’m not alone in being terrorised, there is a school under the names Immaculate Infact Nursery and Primary school owned by one Jane Lubowa, which is about to be evicted by this group. The proprietor of the school donated land measuring three – meters width and a length of 100 – meters for the road after these fellows grabbed part of the 5 – meters KCCA – Government road that stretches from Bukoto to Mpererwe via Komamboga.
The reason behind this is to cover – up of stolen land. They encroached on the government gazetted 5 – meter feeder road that stretches from Bukoto via Kisaasi Northern bypass Flyover to Komamboga Central and have built houses including a flat in the road reserve. What should we call their actions? Is it intrigue, enmity, envy or planned scheme to grab land from residents land as they have so far depicted themselves?.
They will bark at a resident and order him/her to demolish his or her fence or house as if they own shares in one’s property. They forcefully grabbed land from George Nyakahuma by making him move his perimeter fence on November6, 2011 before they called a KCCA Physical Planning official Godwin Othieno to serve him notice of intention to demolish his perimeter fence together with mine. This official has denied he knows nothing on the land and was only called by one of the committee officials.
I would like to state categorically as follows:-
1. That Manchester Development Initiative is not representative of the entire residents of Komamboga residents and therefore is an illegal organization that must be dissolved immediately.
2. That this group lacks the mandate of the residents of Komamboga and therefore can never claim to be developing the area on behalf of the residents or/and Kampala Capital City Authority.
3. That this group lacks credibility to be entrusted with the noble task of developing the area since its actions are dubious, clandestine and subject for investigation by Police, KCCA and human rights organisations.
4. This group must stop harassing and extorting money from residents under the pretext of repairing the roads whose cost they have outrageously inflated..
5. That considering the spirit, manner and conduct of members of this committee so far, considering their hidden agenda, repressive actions, heinous schemes and a multiplicity of cases of what can be construed, by all standards, as crimes so far committed or about to be committed on residents, it is unthinkable that any sane human being can allow Manchester “Development” Initiative to grab land, distabilise peaceful residents, destroy residents’ land and property with impunity under pretext of developing the area.
6. That if residents think they need some organization to develop the area they set up a democratic, clean, credible, development – oriented and representative committee, whose members are devoid of crimes against humanity.
7. But for this committee to conduct itself in a fascist style by imposing destructive actions on residents, and extending and inflicting repression on residents by extortion, is totally unacceptable in modern society. Residents of Komamboga have become sensitized and broadened their scope of looking at issues in proper perspective. They will eventually know their rights and will therefore resist your repression..
REQUIREMENTS FOR REPAIRING ROADS ON SELF – HELP PROJECTS
8. You cannot extort money from residents under the pretext of repairing the road without the following measures being put into account:-
(a) A project proposal outlining inputs, activity work plan, budget and projected output.
(b) A clearly inspected field survey to ascertain the status of objects to be encountered in the fields, an impact environmental assessment, who and how is compensation going to be effected to residents whose property will have been destroyed.
(c) A clearly prepared, authentic, approved and signed project report by a representative (majority) residents authorizing the set – up organization to KCCA to undertake the project on behalf of the residents. Then KCCA inspectors MUST make a field study to ascertain and verify information enshrined in the project work – plan to prove that it is realistic, measurable, and attainable and will not jeopardize KCCA’s position.
(d) The Komamboga organization Must obtain written authorization from KCCA indicating the nature of the project (topography), equipment to used and whether there shall not be impediments that could either need compensation or modification before they can dream of repairing the road on behalf of the residents.
(e) But for individuals to put the law in their hands, some of whom have plots far away and nobody goes through their plot, but want to demolish perimeter fences and houses of residents who donated their land free of charge to create access road, is totally unacceptable.
(f) As far as the current status quo stands if this group remains adamant and goes ahead with a tractor or grader demolishing residents’ perimeter fences or houses, the chairman of the committee, in whom the powers and liabilities of the group are vested, shall be liable for prosecution under the law. And I’m glad the person of the chair is a distinguished Lawyer, and a custodian of Justice in Uganda. He is not only adequately conversant, beyond any reasonable doubt, with what Criminal Law entails, but is the least expected person on the globe, considering his position, age and experience in litigation, to be the one giving sanctuary to law breakers. As long as land – grabbers continue with their dubious mission the access road branching off from Manchester High School billboard on Kisaasi – Kyanja road to the interior will have to be closed for the good of the residents. We have brought this to the attention of all relevant authorities.
The purpose of this letter therefore is to request your office to take up this expeditiously to its logical conclusion. Look forward hearing from you soon.
Stephen Ouma Bwire
Resident – Journalist – Human Rights Activist
Tel/Mobile:+256 – 752643296, +256 – 702643296
CC: Office of the Chief Justice of Uganda
CC; Director Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
CC: Inspector General of Police (IGP)
CC: Member of Parliament Kawempe North
CC: Chairman Human Rights Commission
CC: Director Criminal Investigation Department
CC: DPC Kiira Road Police
OC Kisaasi Police Station
CC: Komamboga residents
CC; Media Houses, local and international