Court blocks cancellation of Owino market 99-year lease

FILE - An aerial view of Owino market in 2018

FILE - An aerial view of Owino market in 2018

The High court has issued an interim injunction, restraining Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the ministry of Lands from proceeding with the re-entries on the Owino Market land including cancellations of the lease title certificates.

KCCA and the ministry have also been restrained from interfering with or sabotaging the activities or developments on the land, pending the determination of the temporary injunction. 

Justice Boniface Wamala issued the injunction on Friday after an application was filed by the vendors under the St. Balikuddembe Market Stalls, Space and Lock-up Shops Owners Association (SSLOA).

The interim injunction follows temporary orders that justice Musa Ssekaana issued on Tuesday this week stopping vendors from St. Balikuddembe Market alias Owino from returning the duplicate certificate of title to the registrar of title for cancellation.

The vendors ran to court after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni instructed ministry of Lands to give a land title to the Kampala district land board. On July 15, 2022, the registrar of titles made a re-entry on the Owino Market land, returning it to the Kampala district land board. 

On July 18, the registrar wrote to SSLOA, informing them of the re-entry and instructed them to hand over the duplicate certificate of title to the district land board.

The vendors rejected the directive and petitioned the High court through their lawyers; Majdah Atulinda and Smith Kayanja, arguing that they had rightfully secured a lease on the market land and were hence the rightful owners. They asked court for interim orders stopping the registrar from cancelling their title pending the conclusion of their application.

The contested land comprises plots 24, M34, 20A-22A, and M77B Nakivubo place, onto which SSLOA acquired a 99-year lease in April 2014, following Museveni’s 2009 directive of giving markets to people operating therein for redevelopment.

Documents from the Kampala district land board, indicate that the lease was issued at a paper corn arrangement, but had terms of Shs 4 billion premium, and ground rent of Shs 200 million on an initial term of 10 years condition for SSLOA to redevelop the land initially under the then KCC. However, the lease processing by the then KCC was delayed by the various lawsuits.

Whereas SSLOA had not yet developed the land, on October 5, 2018, Museveni made a U-turn and directed that market ownership be reverted to local government, starting off the court battles.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd