The construction of a specialised referral hospital at Lubowa in Wakiso hangs in balance after some members of Buganda royal family raised a red flag over the ownership of the land on which the health facility is scheduled to be built.
The multibillion project was due for inauguration on June 1, 2017 by President Yoweri Museveni.
On May 24, Alaka and Company Advocates, the law firm representing the royals wrote to Mr Mark Koeler, the managing Director of Roko Construction, the company that was contracted to build the hospital, warning him to stop any further grading of the land or be sued.
The letter further indicates that Block 269 where the hospital project is planned and other plots at Block 265 Bunamwaya and Block 267 Lweza, Nakukuba and Nazziba are currently a subject of an administration cause in the High Court of Uganda at Kampala and also under investigation by the Justice Catherine Bamugemereirwe Commission of inquiry into land matters.
“It is within your knowledge that on May 19, your construction company descended onto part of the above land (Block 269) at Lubowa Hill and started grading it amidst protests by our clients for reasons that it was not done with their consent or approval,” the letter reads in part.
Mr Koeler’s phone was inaccessible when sought for a comment but an employee at the site who preferred anonymity said Roko was only hired to do work on the site.
However, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Atwine on Saturday said the land in question is rightfully owned by the government.
“About 25 years ago, the Joint Clinical Research Institute bought that land from Mitchel Courts. There has been no contest until when we started grading the land. Some people are bent on jeopardising every government project. The same people are doing the same at Kawolo Hospital and they have frustrated the contractor who had started the work,” Dr Atwine said yesterday.
She said the hospital aims at handling all specialised treatment like heart, kidney and other transplants.
“Infertile women will receive fertilisation from the facility and we shall send our nurses and doctors abroad for refreshment courses on how to the project will save us a lot of money spent on treatment abroad. The hospital will propel us a long way,” Dr Atwine said.
According to the royals who are descendants f Prince Yusuf Ssuuna Kiwewa who was one of the sons of King Suuna, the procedure in which the Ministry of Health acquired the land did not include the rightful owners of the property that is comprised on Block 269 at Lubowa and registered at Volume No.273 on final certificate 18570 PC No. 6726, Folio 15 Kyadondo Wakiso-Mengo.
They say the estate is being managed by Princes Jjunju Freddrick James, John Bemba, Kimbugwe. K. Nakibinge, Joseph Kiyimba, Princesses Victoria Luwedde, Mariam Namusisi Nassiwa and Rosemary Nakamanya.
According to Prince Kimbugwe, the land in question has important cultural values that would require some rituals to be performed “before anyone tampers with it.”
A letter by Buganda’s State Minister of Culture and Heritage, Mr Yusuf Wamala Gaganga on June 17, 2016 confirmed the claim.
“Land at Nazziba, Lubowa, Nakukuba, Mutungo and Lweza have got very important cultural sites that need utmost preservation. We call upon the heirs on those installations to pay due respect in preserving culture,” Mr Gaganga wrote.
Prince Kiyimba told the Daily Monitor that royal family requires due compensation.
“We have seen what they purport to be their title. This land is located in Wakiso District but their title is registered with Kampala Land office as the location. There is fraud and we hope the government will not fallow into that trap. The law will guide us to the end if they do not comply at this stage. Some body forged our title,” Prince Kiyimba said.
In 2011, after a meeting with members of the royal family, President Museveni ordered the External Security Organisation (ESO) and Internal Security Organisation (ISO) to investigate the ownership of the land.
On November 8, 2011, a one Brigadier Wasswa of ISO/ESO requested a brief for the land from the Ministry of Lands and a report dated November 25, 2011 was authored and signed by Mr M.N Kajumbula on behalf of the permanent secretary.
The report found that the rightful owner is Prince Yusuf Suna Kiwewa but there were other grants to Mr John Hill and the Uganda Company Africa Limited issued between 1906 and 1960.
“After microfilming and archiving, I cannot guarantee that ownership is still the same, transactions continued to be registered on this land. I advise you to search the titles for the correct ownership and history of any other transactions,” Mr Kajumbula wrote.