Saturday, July 8, 2017

#Uganda Land Commission inquiry orders arrest of aide to Inspector General of Police - #IGP #Kayihura


#LandGrabbing in Uganda is done by senior government officials and their aides.  As a matter of fact right from the president, his brothers and his other relatives.  Consequently, it would be naive to think that any action will be taken to stop the land theft.  It is also the reason why the government passed a bill to forcefully take land from Ugandan natives to give it to foreigners.

Martha Leah Nangalama
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Bamugemereire orders arrest of Kayihura’s former aide Murunga


The commission of inquiry into land matters on Friday detained a Kenyan national, Ambrose Murunga Wekesa, for trying to evict over 100 families from their land in Luweero. 

Murunga from early 2005 until 2013 was the technical advisor to inspector general of police, General Kale Kayihura. The Kenyan national is believed to have fraudulently acquired land titles for 255 acres of Mailo land from which he had been trying to evict bonafide occupants.

He claimed to have purchased the disputed land from what appears to be a 'ghost' seller in the name of Rose Nalutaaya whose details could not be availed to the commission.

Murunga is believed to have used his connections in connivance with ministry of lands officials in Kampala to acquire titles for plots 26, 31, 32 and 36 on block 726 in Gayaza, Bulemezi in Luweero measuring up to 255 acres.  He claimed to have purchased the land at Shs 132 million.

Murunga told the commission that he was born in Mulago hospital in October 1968 to a Ugandan mother Margret Nanyonjo. But a photocopy of his passport showed that he was born in Kenya's Trans-Zoia district.

It was discovered that Murunga carries both Ugandan and Kenyan birth certificates. He also testified that his children also possess birth certificates from Kenya and Uganda.

The commission's assistant lead counsel, John Bosco Suuza, questioned Murunga about his true birth place adding that he may have committed an offence in Kenya by acquiring a false birth certificate in Uganda.
Suuza asked Murunga to read Article 327(2C) of the Ugandan Constitution and Section 40 subsection 4 of Land Act. When asked if knew that non-Ugandans are not allowed purchase land, he answered in the affirmative.

The commission was stunned to learn that despite the existence of the law, Murunga was granted the titles of the said block and has since been using those titles to arrest the bibanja owners and destroy their property.

He told the commission that he previously worked with Kenyan police as a detective and that he was introduced to Kale Kayihura by the late Brigadier Noble Mayombo.

He claimed that he is a lawyer by profession but was doing security related work in Uganda. His admission that he was a Kenyan and that his work permit had expired prompted Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire to question him and later ordered the commission's investigators to take him out for further questioning.

"Do you know that as a policeman, you are supposed to uphold the law?, Bamugemereire asked.
"Yes, I know that my lord", Murunga answered.
"Did you give your lawyer your passport to take along the documents? asked Bamugemereire.

"No, I did not my lord", he answered.

"So, does it mean that your lawyer took a document saying ‘Ugandan’ without any proof?" Bamugemereire asked.

"My lord, I think at that time, he told me that since one of my parents was Ugandan it was unnecessary", he said.

Some of the affected persons were at the commission watching the person who has been tormenting them being led out of the commission by police for questioning.

An elderly lady who has been at the commission for the last two days watched in disbelief on seeing Murunga being led out. Murunga had personally applied to appear before the commission. He drove to the commission in blue Range Rover which remained parked there by 9:30pm.

Murunga had earlier told the commission that he had been promised that he was to get vacant possession of the land. The assertion seemingly angered Justice Bamugemereire.

""Because of the office you were holding, you abused our office. You used our officers to go and terrorise those citizens who had been lawfully, quietly and peacefully living on their land. Some of them for over 50 years," Bamugemereire said.

One of the police officers at the centre of the controversy is Luweero CIID, detective Assistant Superintendent of Police Jagwe Raymond. Jagwe who has been the CIID officer at Luweero for two years was reportedly used by Murunga to effect arrests of several bonafide occupants on the land.

Jagwe without giving details told the commission that he had been warned to be mindful of some sensitive land issues when he was being deployed to Luweero.

He named officials like RDC Alice Muwanguzi, former Luwero district chairperson Abdu Naduli, former minister Abraham Byandala among other government officials that warned him about Murunga land issues. 

Jagwe who holds a Law degree denied ever knowing that Murunga was not a Ugandan. He also denied helping him was to acquire Mailo land titles. Jagwe said Murunga in one of the self-recorded statements to the police in Luweero had indicated that he was a Ugandan.

The commission's lead counsel, Ebert Byenkya, put it to Jagwe that Murunga was a bigger criminal going by the forgeries and other crimes he had committed in trying to evict people from their land.

Efforts by the commission chairperson to demand Jagwe to reveal more about Murunga's connections in police were futile. It is at this point that Bamugemereire ordered police to arrest and have Jagwe detained at Wandegeya police station. 

Who is Murunga?

Ambrose Murunga came into the limelight in June 2013 when the Uganda Police Force made it public that it had declined to renew his contract as the technical advisor to Kale Kayihura.

Murunga's contract had expired in April that year after being Kayihura's aide for at least eight years, having been hired in 2005 the same year the General took over as IGP
 
At the peak of his powers, Murunga was feared even by senior police officers who saw him as Kayihura's ear on the ground. Murunga wielded a lot of influence in the police such as determining who would be deployed where, including directors of police.
 
Asked at the time why he had declined to renew the Kenyan national's contract, Kayihura told URN he did not want "controversial things near him".
 
During his nine years of service, Murunga was a common sight around major police operations such as walk-to-work in 2011 and 2012.
He is also believed to have directed some of the operations like the one on April 24, 2011, when then FDC party leader Kiiza Besigye was brutally arrested at Mulago roundabout by Gilbert Arinaitwe Bwana. The former FDC leader was hospitalised in Nairobi for at least two weeks after the incident
THE OBSERVER

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