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Kabaka sues National Water for Shs 6.2bn

The Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, has sued National Water and Sewerage Corporation  for constructing a sewerage treatment plant on his land in Lubigi, without his permission.

The Kabaka wants court to order NWSC to pay over Shs 134m as overdue ground rent or buy the seven hectare land at Shs 6.2bn.

Among other things, he wants court to issue a permanent injunction restraining NWSC employees and agents from interfering and trespassing on the land until it pays compensation.

The land in contention is marked plots 97, 99 and 101; block 203 found in Kawempe, Kampala district. The suit number 428 of 2013 has been filed at the Lands division of the High court.

In his plaint, the Kabaka states that the corporation brought tanks for purposes of construction of sewerage treatment plant in 2012, without his knowledge.

“The acquisition and possession of the land in suit by the respondent [NWSC] amounted to deprivation of property and the conduct of NWSC is oppressive and high-handed,” the plaint reads.

The monarch also argues that NWSC did not do sufficient due diligence in setting up the tank, raising safety issues.

“When putting up the plant, National Water and Sewerage Corporation lacked an environmental impact assessment [EIA] of the area and its works continue to have a negative impact on the land, “reads the affidavit, sworn by the executive secretary of the Buganda Land Board, Kiwalabye Male.

NWSC also reportedly rejected a compensation request from the Kabaka. According to the Kabaka, the construction of the plant without prior compensation and his consent was unlawful since it’s in contravention of  Article 26(2b) of the Constitution.

The article stipulates:  “No person shall be compulsorily deprived of property or any interest in or right over property unless there’s prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation prior to the taking of the possession or acquisition of the property.”

But when contacted, the NWSC spokesperson, Vivien Newumbe, told The Observer that it was wrong for the Kabaka to sue them, since they were implementing a project on behalf of the government.

“We don’t own the land in question. We just put in place a sewerage project; so, it is wrong for anybody to sue us. They should instead sue the central government which offered us the land,” she said.

Accordingly, she explained that by law, all wetlands are owned by central government through the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). Newumbe argued that their duty, as NWSC, was to compensate the squatters, which they duly did.

The Kabaka has given special powers of attorney to his brother Prince David Kintu Wasajja, Ibrahim Kironde Kabanda and CBS FM Managing Director Godfrey Kaaya Kavuma.

The case is before Justice Eva Kawuma Luswata. Lukwago and Company Advocates represent the Kabaka.

dkiyonga@gmail.com

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