Buhaguzi East MP denies land grabbing accusations

The Buhaguzi East Member of Parliament in Kikuube district, Stephen Aseera Itaza has denied allegations that he was involved in the illegal titling of two pieces of communal land.

The MP who is currently at the centre of accusations alongside three others over the same says although his co-accused might have been involved in such, he is not involved in land grabbing.

The lands in question are in Musaijamukuru village in Buhimba sub county and Mukabara village in Kiziranfumbi sub-county, Kikuube district with an estimated 5,000 residents.

Itaza is accused alongside Charles Nyabongo Ochaki, a legislator in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom parliament and Job Muhumuza, a businessman.

The contested land measuring 127.5590 hectares, is on plot 172, block 22 and its title was produced in November, 2020, in  the names of the accused and their National Identification Numbers (NINs) although that of Itaza bears a photo for a yet to be identified man.

The land title which also covers Musaijamukuru hill, a cultural site of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, came to be known after one of the area residents started processing a land title for his land.

Itaza is also implicated with Patson Ayebazibwe in processing a land title for another 297.664 hectares in Mukabara village in Kiziranfumbi sub-county in Kikuube district.

The titling of the aforesaid communal lands was confirmed by a search at Masindi zonal land office.

Rumours swirled of the MP being behind after the titles were leaked on social media expressing rage over the illegal takeover of the land on which the residents has lived on for decades.

Breaking the silence on the matter before journalists on Tuesday in Hoima City, Itaza, said it was a shock to him because he doesn’t know anything pertaining to such and has never applied for any land in any of the villages mentioned.

“I don’t have land there. The only land I have is for my late father which even has no land title,” a visibly angry and disturbed legislator said.

He also expressed dismay at how his NINs were added to the titles.

Itaza told Journalists that he has since reported the matter to police and recorded a statement denying any joint ventures with any of the persons alleged to be holding the land titles.

He wants the police to investigate what he termed as forgeries.

Itaza also brandished an October 21, notice of cancellation of the fraudulent land titles to the commissioner ministry of lands, housing and urban development.

“Iam of the opinion that there are individuals who have illegally used my name to fraudulently acquire land titles over lands that do not belong to them. I highly suspect there is a racket that probably has strong links with the district land boards. I therefore, write to implore you to urgently take up the matter and carry out a thorough investigation to protect our people from losing their lands to fraudsters and to also establish the people in such dubious deals,” he said.

The notice of cancellation is copied to security, Kikuube chief administrative officer, district chairperson, state house anti-corruption unit, Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom and district secretary land board, among others.

Itaza said he has also written to the speaker of Parliament of Uganda, Anita Among, notifying her of the same, adding that because he has realised it is not only the aforementioned residents affected, but also many others.

He said he has also gone ahead to identify the culprits, some of whom are within the kingdom.

“I phoned Andrew Kirungi Byakutaga, the kingdom premier who said he was aware of the same and was doing everything possible to deal with the culprits,” he said.

Itaza said the law is clear that customary land can’t have a freehold title under one individual.

He further proves his innocence saying that although records show the process of titling the said land started in 2018, he wasn’t known.

The Buhaguzi East legislator said during a recent interface with the affected residents, they told him that although their names and signatures appear on the application forms of the land titles, they have never signed the said documents.

However, Itaza said he cannot rule out a political element since his fellow politicians have been going around alleging that he was part of the deal ostensibly to discredit him before the electorate.

“I urge people to remain calm and wait for the law to take its course but at least i can confirm that no one is going to evict them from their land. The culprits will be brought to book,” he said.

Peter Banura, the Kikuube district chairperson, expressed concern over an increase in illegal land titling in the area.

Ochaki confirmed he is part of the people who processed the land titles and that the land belonged to his late grandfather, Omukama Chwa II Kabalega.

Efforts to get a comment from Muhumuza and Ayebazibwe were futile by Wednesday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *