Five members of the Buganda Kingdom royal family have petitioned Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, seeking her help in getting payment for land on which the government plans to build a large, specialised hospital at Lubowa, Wakiso district.
Their petition comes on the heels of last week’s letter from President Museveni to Kadaga, asking her to speed up approval of a Shs 380 billion supplementary budget to go towards guaranteeing the foreign investor in the hospital project.
The royals led by Prince Fredrick Jjunju wrote to the speaker on March 7 declaring their claim to being the rightful owners of the eight square mile swathe of land known as Bunamwaya estate.
The land includes Lubowa estate where government wants 30 acres for the hospital.
“We inherited this entire land from our grandparent, the late Yusuufu Ssuuna Kiweewa, who originally owned this land on Block 265 and 269. We have all valid legal documents which prove we are the rightful owners of the estate. Much as we also need development on the land needed for the hospital, we can’t donate it free of charge; so, Right Honourable Speaker, we request that as this matter is deliberated on, paying us first should be paramount,” said the six-page petition. The petition letter was copied to various officials, including the president.
The four other signatories are: Steven Saava Kikonyogo, Abduratif Nakalaali, Siriman Sebirumbi and Moham Nawango. If the project proceeds, this would be the first international, specialised hospital with 264 beds in Uganda.
It is hoped patients with complicated diseases who would otherwise travel out of the country for medical care would now be treated here. The hospital is, therefore, expected to address the issue of expensive medical tourism since it will offer a wide range of services, including transplants, neurosurgical and heart operations, among others.
In parliament recently both the minister for health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, and the junior minister for economic planning David Bahati denied that the land at Lubowa has multiple owners, and that there is a case before court regarding the matter.
The Observer has, however, learnt that initially three different groups of members of the Buganda royal family laid claim to the land. One group had Princes Joseph Kiggala (who lives in USA) and Nakibiinge Kimbugwe. The Kiggala claim was, however, dealt a blow on February 28 when the High court dismissed a suit they had brought against Prince Jjunju Fredrick, Victorial Luwedde (RIP), Steven Kikonyogo Saava and Mariam Zawedde.
After the court dismissed the suit, Jjunju, Kikonyogo, Luwedde, Abdulatif Nakalaali and Siriman Sebirumbi are thought to have regained rights over the property in respect to letters of administration.
However, the long-standing ownership dispute over this estate reportedly remains unresolved.
About the title
A copy of one land title seen by The Observer indicates that the proposed project land (measuring 37.968 hectares on blocks 269 and 260 of Lubowa estate) was bought by Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) about 25 years ago from Uganda Company (Holdings) Limited as a freehold.
The Uganda Company was incorporated on October 31, 1903 in England as a 100 percent subsidiary of Mitchell Cotts Limited, a UK company.
In 2015, Kiggala dragged six companies to court for allegedly encroaching on Lubowa estate. These included; Uganda Company Limited, Uganda Company (Holdings) Limited, Mitchell Cotts Uganda Limited, JCRC, National Housing and Construction Corporation, National Social Security Fund and Roofings Ltd.