Robert Ssebunya, a senior member on the panel of the ongoing land inquiry, has warned state minister for Lands Persis Namuganza to refrain from making reckless public allegations against the commission.
Ssebunya while appearing on Bilal FM’s Sunday programme, Amagezi muliro (knowledge is fire), responded to Namuganza’s allegations made shortly after she was grilled over the Mubende land row over a week ago.
Namuganza said then that whereas members of the commission led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire earn a lot of money, they do nothing. She suggested that the probe be disbanded.
“They are paid Shs 52 million a month each yet me, a minister, I get only Shs 6 million. Why do they waste people’s money?” the minister said.
But Ssebunya said: “I am warning Namuganza to stop attacking the land probe recklessly without facts. She is the junior minister in charge of lands…she says we are useless but our findings into her land deals will reveal who is useless and the public will know the reason the probe was set up when she is in charge of land matters. By the time our recommendations are out, the public will judge who is useless.”
He observed that it is Namuganza who has been fighting useless wars ever since she was appointed as minister. She fought former Lands minister Idah Nantaba and speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga, he observed.
Ssebunya said President Museveni’s extension of the probe’s term for another 18 months, is an indication that the inquiry has made an impact.
“We have caused cancellation of several land titles got fraudulently under the watch of Namuganza. With the help of investigators given to us by the DPP, we have so far caused prosecution of 18 people. Before our extension, we had disposed of 3,000 complaints and we still have 8,000 to handle [and] yet more are coming,” he said.
When she appeared before the inquiry, Namuganza denied allegations that she connived with a one Milly Naava to evict 350 families in Mubende district, and also purportedly led a team to the president largely to con the government. She accused the commission of waging private wars.
“They are fighting personal wars. They have no issue. They are just useless. Their emotions won’t help Uganda.”
She added: “I’m going on record. That [commission] is only eating taxpayers’ money. That [commission] should be disbanded and members sent home to sleep.”
It is also alleged that Namuganza colluded with state minister for Kampala, Benny Namugwanya (Mubende Woman MP), mobilized and led alleged claimants of the disputed three square mile land in Butoroogo and Madudu sub-counties of Mubende to State House.
Namuganza was accused before the land probe of having led purported landlords; Blasio Musoke Lule, Milly Naava Namutebi and other people to the president.
At the State House meeting, witnesses separately testified, Lule asked the president for Shs 4 billion in compensation for one square mile of land.
The commission is investigating accusations of forceful evictions, destruction of property, unlawful arrests and threatening violence against a retired primary school teacher, Namutebi and a senior army officer in charge of administration at Mubende Rehabilitation Centre, Maj Eric Kigamboha.
The incidents reportedly took place in Buwekula, Butoroogo and Madudu between 2010 and 2018. Last week, the land probe ordered the arrest of Namutebi and Musoke for defying witness summons.
Namuganza got embroiled in the Mubende land saga last year upon being asked by Museveni to carry out a fact-finding mission in the area.
When she appeared before the Bamugemereire inquiry, Namuganza said she was not answerable to them.
“The president instructed me and the former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura knowing that the commission of inquiry is there. I took the assignment from the president under the law,” she said.
The minister also denied allegations that she connived with Naava to evict 350 families in Mubende district.