Remove your mast or you vacate our land: Mbarara district council to MP Rukaari
By Amos Kakungulu
Mbarara – Fresh trouble have again emerged against Mbarara city north legislator Dr. Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari as the leadership of Mbarara district are against his company called AMPROC over suspected illegal developments on district land.
This comes after the leaders of the district discovered that Rukaari who is a tenant of a district land where he operates his businesses of AMPROC opposite Kakyeka stadium, is erecting a telecommunication mast on the land without the consent from the district council.
During a council meeting on Wednesday t, councilors were bitter with the matter that MP Rukaari is putting up some illegal structures that are not within the tenant agreement he signed with the district.
Councilors accuse Rukaari of using the land he rents from the district like he is the landlord.
It is said Rukaari had applied for the lease from the previous district council but the process of awarding him the lease was still in the pipeline, this came after the Minister of Local Government Raphael Magyezi, put on hold on leasing of government properties.
Didas Tabaro, the Mbarara District LC5 chairman revealed that AMPROC under the ownership of MP Rukaari is a tenant of Mbarara district Local Government.
He says that before any district tenant puts up any permanent structure, he or she must follow due processes and valuation from the ministry, and then council can also determine what to do.
In this case Rukaari must first get clearance from the ministry because every transaction must be cleared by the ministry.
“What is bringing confusion is, how did the tenant (Dr. Rukaari) construct a permanent mast on a district land without consulting the district (the landlord). That is the discomfort within the councilors and the entire district leadership?,” Tabaro questioned.
“Why should you put a mast on a property you have not yet acquired? This is not only for the district. For you to put a permanent structure on someone’s land, you must have had consent from the that person, either by memorandum or anything of that sort or a lease. But Rukaari did not duly consult us. I must tell you that Hon. Rukaari is my friend but things to do with public property, friendship doesn’t count,” Tabaro added
“As the district boss, my take is that we are going to take the due processes because we don’t want to be caught off guard. I am going to write to the Minister of Local Government for guidance and once that guidance is given, then that’s when we shall come and sit as council to look for a way forward. But I want to caution all tenants of the district that you must follow what is in the tenancy agreement, whoever does anything contrary to what is in the tenancy agreement, whether you are my friend we shall run after you,” Tabaro warned.
Mbarara district vice chairperson Juliet Nabakooza stated that as council, they are suspicious with MP Rukaari who is a tenant of the district may end up grabbing the district land since he has started putting up illegal structures which are permanent without the consent of the council.
She said that Rukaari claims to be having an MoU with Mbarara district that he got a lease for the said land which is not true.
“The process of leasing Rukaari was not complete. Now we see him constructing some structures like a mast which we have no knowledge about as his landlords. We have not had any agreement or an MoU that we leased him that land and he claims that he has it, if he has the documents of that MoU why doesn’t he come and present it to us? And if anything, let’s assume that we leased him the land we are supposed to know every activity that is being done on the land that we could have leased out and what is not supposed to be constructed on that specific land. We want the PS or the minister to intervene and we conclude this matter from here not by calling Rukaari in their offices where we may not reach as councilors” Nabakooza said.
It should be remembered that in 2017, a section of councilors from the previous council of Mbarara district stormed AMPROC premises demanding for an explanation why Dr. Rukaari the owner had refused to pay their district rent arrears totaling to Shs255m.
The matter was resolved in court and Rukaari was able to pay the money in installments until the debt was completed. That was when Rukaari was still the Honourary Consul of Morocco to Uganda before he picked interest to contest for Member of Parliament for Mbarara city north constituency in Mbarara city in 2021.