Kampala District Land Board Appointments Stir Chaos in Council

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There was drama at the Kampala City Hall this afternoon after councillors disagreed on whether or not to discuss the appointment of Nasser Basajjabalaba and Moses Kamoga, to the District Land Board. 

The appointment of the two officials was deferred by the Minister for Kampala on account that they were being investigated for their involvement in fraudulent land transactions. The minister in a letter dated November 26, 2020, said that the two had been implicated together with the former Land Board Chairman Yusuf Nsibambi, a basis of which the President had called for an investigation before they take up any roles.

But the two officials ran to court challenging the Minister’s decision and, in February 2021, secured a court injunction staying the Minister’s orders and maintaining Status quo until the main suit is heard. Today, Nakawa IV councillor Moses Okwera asked that the Council should discuss the matter and resolve to have other names submitted for consideration.

However, the Authority Speaker Abubaker Kawalya guided that the matter couldn’t be discussed since it was still before the courts. While Kawalya made reference to the sub-judice rule which restricts public discussion of matters pending before the courts, Okwera, backed by Nakawa Woman Councilor Alice Amony said that the same council had set a precedent when councillors discussed issues about the management of Owino and Nakasero Market, and the salary of the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago after his impeachment, which were all before the courts.

Kawalya’s decision was also backed by KCCA Legal officer Bob Kwanza who guided that the matter could not be discussed by the council.

But tempers flared moments after the ruling forcing Okwera and Amony to stand up in protest while shouting on top of their voices. They were soon joined by Councilor Happy Nasasira who was also holding her months old baby.

Even when Kawalya threatened to order security to throw them out, the councillors continued the protest, accusing Kawalya of having hidden interests in the matter which he was protecting by avoiding the debate.

Rubaga South Woman Councilor Farida Nakabugo rose up in arms to defend Kawalya against what she called blackmail.  She wondered why they insisted on discussing a matter already before the court knowing that any decisions taken are challengeable. Similarly, Deputy Speaker Bruhan Byaruhanga expressed dismay at the behaviour of fellow councillors.

Amidst the controversy, the Speaker allowed the distribution of a court Injunction to members and gave chance to three members to discuss the matter saying that members needed to make a few comments before it could be closed. But the Deputy Lord Mayor Doreen Nyanjura argued that the Speaker couldn’t open up debate on a the matter he had already ruled against.

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