Contraversial St. Balikuddembe (Owino) Market Land Title Saga Takes New Twist
By Evans Najuna
Kampala – The puzzle behind the contravasional issues of St. Balikuddembe (Owino) market are likely to drag on as both parties are becoming a small stone in each other’s shoe.
The conundrum matter started sometime back 2021 when President Museveni instructed the return of all Kampala markets to go back into the hands of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). Previously St. Balikuddembe (Owino) market had been under the management St. Balikuddembe Stock space and lockup shop owners Association (SSLOA).
The span has since been drawn with the letter written by President Museveni on 4th of June 2022 instructing the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development to immediately rescue these titles and later revert back to him on the matter.
Following the President’s directive, Johnson Bigiira, the Commissionor of Lands registration issued a letter giving 7 days ultimatum to SSLOA management for the return of three Duplicate land titles for the cancellation. This was prior to the 15th July, application file for Re-entry vide instrument No. KCCA 00094262 by Kampala Lands Commission Board citing bleached clauses in the lease agreement.
This did not go well with SSLOA; a thing that prompted them to seek an interim court injunction. It is alleged that in their affidavit, they asked the court not cancel their land titles on issues that they got their land titles in the rightful procedures, they also cited out that KCCA has sabotaged their re-development plan as they have been battling with them in Court for these years, they asked the court on the issue of 7 days ultimatum.
In this, the SSLOA thought of an injunction so as the main suit of KCCA’s unlawfully evicting them from the operations could be heard.
Coincidentally, on Friday 29th July when the same ruling was delivered the cancellation of three land titles was done. While delivering the interim injunction, justice Boniface Wamala, sitting at High Court lands Division on Twed Towers in Kampala, restrained the cancellation of these land titles and re-instated the status quo until the main application is heard. He also slapped the application costs on the respondent.
Speaking with the press after court ruling, Joseph Lwanga, the current Chairperson of St. Balikuddembe market Stalls space and lockup shops owners association said they weren’t surprised by the ruling, citing the president’s letter calling to cancellation of their land titles though their lease of 10years had not elapsed to which they have only spent seven (7) years. He added that for the Commissionor of Lands to Commission the cancellation of their land titles should have been by; court order, by breach of agreement or either by Compensation.
According to Lwanga their plans to redevelop the market has not been achieved. He therefore implored the government that as SSLOA they have not failed to redevelop the market but the government it’s self is giving them hard time to achieve their purpose.
He called on president Museveni’s intervention to rescue the local people in Owino market.
However, with the new developments showing that these three land titles have been cancelled by the government, the question is what is the way forward for SSLOA and the interpretation of coincidence to the interim injunction and cancellation of these land titles.