Buganda Kingdom has instructed prison authorities in Masaka to pull down structures erected on a disputed piece of land in Mukungwe, Masaka City.
Prison authorities constructed staff quarters on a section of the 49 acres of land, which Buganda Kingdom insists was done illegally.
The land housing Mukungwe Local Prison is owned by Buganda and hosts the kingdom’s administrative offices for Mutuba essatu Mukungwe in Buddu County.
Mr James Bukenya, the publicity secretary for Mituba essatu Mukungwe, said the decision to demolish the structures was reached during a meeting between kingdom officials, local leaders and prison authorities in the Greater Masaka area last week.
“We have agreed that prison officers pull down structures built in the ring- fenced piece of land. The same piece of land was earmarked for the construction of a health centre,” he said on Saturday.
Mr Bukenya said apart from erecting illegal structures on the land, the prison officers have established gardens on the remaining piece of land, which has frustrated their developmental programmes. “We had plans of using the land to set up a coffee nursery bed with an aim of bringing services nearer to Kabaka’s subjects, but all this was being frustrated,’’ he said.
Mr Bukenya advised all those who want to utilise the land to follow the right procedures.
“We have well streamlined procedures for everyone who would wish to use the kingdom land. I advise people to contact Buganda Land Board and legalise their tenancy,’’ he added.
Mr Frank Baine, the Uganda prison services spokesperson, said the queries on land issue between Buganda Kingdom and the central government will amicably be resolved.
“Most prisons in Buganda sub-region were set up on kingdom land, that is a fact, and there have been regular talks between Buganda officials and the central government over that issue. I call upon all the parties involved to address the issue to higher offices in Kampala,” he said. In the neighbouring Kalungu District, residents of Bukulula Village, Bukulula Sub-county, have on several occasions clashed with prison officers and inmates over a piece of land measuring 49 acres.
Recently, angry residents clashed with prison warders and inmates who attempted to destroy crops. In the ensuing melee, the prison warders fired bullets in the air to disperse the angry residents.
The locals accused the prison warders attached to Bukulula Sub-county prison of attempting to evict them from the land which the former claims belongs to Buganda Kingdom.
The land has about 700 sitting tenants. It also houses Bukulula Sub-county headquarters and Bukulula Health Centre IV.
On October 18, 2020, prison authorities from Greater Masaka and officials from Buganda Land Board and Kalungu District met at the disputed land and resolved that the warring parties halt any farming activities on the land until the matter is resolved. However, both the prison officers and residents ignored the resolution.