By Our Reporters
On the prompting of Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, Dr. Mohammad Buwule Kasasa said he was ready to amicably resolve and end the 15 year old Mutungo land court dispute with Kabaka Mutebi’s siblings led by Prince David Wassajja. Having established that Kasasa for many years headed Buganda kingdom’s medical services bureau before the 1967 kingdoms’ abolition, Bamugemereire asked him why he doesn’t consider sitting down with Kabaka’s family and resolve the wrangling over ownership of Mutungo Hill land (640 acres). Stinking rich Kasasa, who likened Wassajja’s previous day accusation that he stole Mutungo land to “a billionaire going to steal Shs100,000,” said he was more than prepared to give concessions and amicably end the dispute that has seen him battle Kabaka’s family since 2003. “I’m very much open to that My Lord because I love my Kabaka and he too knows it. My relationship with the palace dates back to the days of Sir Edward Mutesa except that I was a young man at that time. Otherwise Sekabaka Mutesa knew me well and same applies to current Kabaka. We worked together very well when he was still Ssabataka. That is why he even ensured I was involved in Teefe bank,” Kasasa said adding it continues paining him being at loggerheads with the royal family for all these years. “My Lord I’m still in big shock also as to what went wrong. I tried all avenues to resolve this matter amicably and we are here because all my efforts at dialogue didn’t yield.” Kasasa explained that he reached out to Buganda kingdom by relentlessly engaging with all the Katikkiros from Mulwanyamuli Semwogerere, Dan Mulika, JB Walusimbi to current Peter Mayiga. “I have been going to meet them especially on the [2 acre] Buziga [residential] land dispute. I’m angry at current Katikkiro Mayiga because I went to him. He took my number and promised to call and we talk but he didn’t. I even involved the MP [Ken] Lukyamuzi to mediate and he tried his best but these people weren’t forthcoming. He [Lukyamuzi] tried his best and even wrote to then Katikiro pleading that please don’t evict Dr. Kasasa [from the Mutungo house in early 2000s] as it would look bad because of his history serving the kingdom,” Kasasa told the inquiry during the Wednesday sitting. “I never wanted this approach and that is why I sat on that [Buziga] matter for all those years without going to court [suing Kabaka and Wassajja]. It’s their indifference that has forced me here [Kasasa complained to the Inquiry having failed to progress in court more than 10 years later]. I have been ill-treated, oppressed and wronged but never planned revenge. I’m still open and saying okay if we can’t negotiate on Buziga, let’s dialogue on Mutungo.” Kasasa, who spoke during a session where Wassajja also was listening attentively, said “they are doing all this to squeeze me so that I eventually accept very little because I’m vulnerable [by that time] I might be ill and wanting money for the hospital.” He said “on Mutungo they [Wassajjas] know the truth but are pushing me to just cave in and agree to their terms and its okay we can agree but let them open up.” Kasasa said the fact that the Wassajjas are separately pursuing Shs200bn compensation from government over Mutungo land is indicative they know they don’t have a strong claim against him in the court case they filed against him. Despite being filed in 2003, the main suit has never been heard on its own merit because (Wassajja says) Kasasa has been filing many time-wasting applications meant to prolong their deprivation of property that belonged to their father Sir Edward. Kasasa responded by blaming the Wassajjas of not being serious to prosecute their own case because it’s them who sued him. Wassajja says of the 10 applications relating to the Mutungo case, they only filed two including one on contempt of court by Kasasa and the AG. Bamugemereire encouraged both Wassajja and Kasasa to very deeply think about the possibility of peacefully resolving the dispute because prolonged litigation with no end in sight will continue hurting both of them. Prompted by Commissioner Robert Sebunya, Bamugemereire referred to a dispute the commission prompted parties to resolve peacefully after exhaustively battling in court for 37 years.
Bamugemereire prompted Dr. Kasasa on the prospect of reconciliation after Commissioners Rose Nakayi and Mary Oduka Ochan passionately engaged him in a long argument ably illustrating he doesn’t have a strong claim against the Kabaka and Wassajja regarding the Buziga land because they simply exercised their right of reversion in 1998 when the 49 year lease expired. Nakayi, who seemed to have researched a lot on the matter, told Kasasa he has a weak claim because there is even no record he had promptly been meeting his lease obligations including paying ground rent. Kasasa, whose ground rent annually stood at Shs400, blamed this anomaly on Museveni’s 1987 currency reforms which knocked off two zeros turning the figure to Shs4 whose payment he couldn’t prove in the face of Nakayi’s barrage of questions. A celebrated Mak land law don, Nakayi told Kasasa that he didn’t enjoy right to automatic renewal on the Buziga land and when he protested she challenged him to quote a clause in the lease to the contrary. Kasasa lost his composure at some point and attempted to shout Nakayi down but the Commissioner stood her ground telling him “Dr. Kasasa a lease is a contract with rights and obligations and unfortunately in this case you don’t seem to have strictly met your obligations.” She added “the lessor always has a right to renew or to decline after 49 years because renewal is never automatic.” She lectured Kasasa that the BLB letter of September 2001 asking him to produce a written no objection from his daughters (the original lessees) didn’t mean Kabaka had offered to renew. It was just a procedure to guide BLB bosses at their next meeting. Kasasa, who went to court and later petitioned the inquiry saying Kabaka improperly repossessed Buziga, also tried to use the afternoon session to discredit Buganda kingdom’s Kyapa mu Ngalo initiative but Nakayi and Bamugemereire shut him up saying his Buziga lease had nothing to do with Kyapa mu Ngalo which is a very recent BLB innovation meant to strengthen documentation and formalization of tenants on Kabaka’s land. “If I were you I would withdraw that statement because the Buziga lease whose cancellation you are protesting is in no way an equivalent of Kyapa mu Ngalo,” Nakayi asserted prompting Kasasa to withdraw his earlier negative characterization of kyapa mu Ngalo. “I beg to withdraw my statement,” said Kasasa who was perhaps exhausted having been in the hot seat since morning. Bamugemereire reminded Kasasa that the original lease agreement between Mutesa and the Mzungu leasee (from whom Kasasa got the lease and registered it in the names of his daughters) didn’t provide for automatic renewal after 49 years. “This meant the original owner can reenter his land after 49 years,” Bamugemereire said clearly indicating to Kasasa the difficulties he faces in his claim against the Kabaka regarding Buziga. She told him “you ought to know all that Dr. Kasasa because you are a landed and well-connected person.” He cheekily added “I’m also the first Muslim doctor in Uganda and first Ugandan Doctor to work in Kabaka’s government.”
Most of the 2001 BLB correspondences regarding the Buziga lease were signed by Mate Mukasa and Levi Zzimbe who were Secretary to BLB. On getting aggrieved by the rejection of his lease renewal application, Kasasa (who Commissioners labored showing he had a weak case) first sued BLB but later changed in 2015 to sue Wassajja and Kabaka after realizing BLB was legally not in existence in 2001 to be able to sue or sued. Nakayi further deflated Kasasa by prompting him to discuss the circumstances under which he sued his own daughters (Faridah Zabali, Janet Nakawunde, Sarah Nabule, Nulu Nakawanga, Aidat Nabandwa & Sophia Nambalirwa) over land. In what must have surprised Kasasa, Nakayi read out the particulars of the case (Civil Suit No 215 of 2001) prompting a shocked Kasasa to admit “yes it was a family matter about land in Mengo but we resolved it.” By raising this, Nakayi succeeded in illustrating Dr. Kasasa’s large appetite when it comes to possessing land. She also cleverly managed to bring up for scrutiny the spirit in which Kasasa was in June 2001 writing to BLB to remove his daughters and re-register the Buziga lease in his names. Kasasa said it’s because they were abroad and himself being here would follow up the lease renewal application more easily once the thing was registered in his name.
In battling Kabaka’s people (Wassajja & Co) on the Mutungo land, Kasasa’s biggest argument is that the suit against him is time-barred (should be filed in 12 years) wondering why the aggrieved Mutesa children took too long to contest his possession of the land in court. Arguing the Administrator General (from whom the Wassajjas took over) was here, Kasasa is asking Court to ignore the exceptionality of (exile) disability because they didn’t have to physically be in Uganda for their Mutungo claim to be registered in court. As Bamugemereire noted, it hasn’t been and it won’t be becoming an easy case soon which is why dialogue would be the best way out. Kasasa says he is open to that and Wassajja will have the opportunity to formally respond when he returns next week to counter all that Kasasa submitted during the Wednesday session. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.