Special Report | Official Statements From Bulange Mengo and Bobi Wine on The One Love Beach Demolition
April 11, 2017 For Immediate Release — Bobi Wine was occupying Kaazi-Busabala land illegally
Bulange, Mmengo: On Friday April 8, 2017, Nkuluze, an organ of Buganda Kingdom exercised its rights by taking possession of its land in Kaazi-Busabala. This land is adjacent to local singer Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s (commonly known as Bobi Wine) One Love Beach.
In December 2011, Bobi Wine deposited UGX20,000,000 (Twenty Million Uganda Shillings Only) with Nkuluze together with an application to occupy 0.5 acres of land. The UGX20m was his own valuation.
On several occasions, Bobi Wine was informed that the lease application for this land had not been approved and should therefore not carry out activities beyond the confines of One Love Beach. Previously, Nkuluze had agreed to sub-lease 6.25 acres of land to Bobi Wine and there is no contention on this land.
On September 17, 2014, Bobi Wine was informed in writing that the land he applied for wasn’t available for the sub-lease. He was requested to personally attend a meeting on September 29, 2014 with Nkuluze regarding this transaction. Bobi Wine didn’t turn up for the meeting.
On January 18, 2015, Bobi Wine was again informed in writing that the sub-lease of 0.5 acres he had applied for in Kaazi-Busabala will not be permitted as the land lord intends to use the land for different purposes. Bobi Wine was informed that the UGX20m he had deposited would not be refunded since he owed the same office UGX18m (Eighteen Million Uganda Shillings Only) as part of the sub-lease for the 6.25 acres of his One Love Beach. The 6.25 acres of One Love Beach were leased to Bobi Wine at UGX103, 370,000 (One Hundred Three Million Three Hundred and Seventy Thousand Uganda Shillings only) which he had been paying in installments. It is Nkuluze that sub-leased him the 6.25 acres and nothing was demolished on these 6.25 acres.
Bobi Wine was informed that the balance of UGX2m (Two Million Uganda Shillings Only) on the UGX20m he had deposited would be used as part payment of ground rent. At that time, Bobi Wine was in arrears of UGX16,800,000 (Sixteen Million Eight Hundred Uganda Shillings Only) and was informed that his ground rent arrears now stood at UGX14,800,000 (Fourteen Million Eight Hundred Thousand Uganda Shillings only) for the period ending December 31, 2014.
On June 26, 2015, Bobi Wine was informed in writing by the Kingdom that he should cease carrying out activities on the 0.5 acres piece of land as the sub-lease application had not been approved. By this time, Bobi Wine was illegally occupying this land and using it as a parking lot for his One Love Beach. He was advised to concentrate all his activities within the 6.25 acres whose lease had been approved.
Instead, Bobi Wine didn’t only occupy the 0.5 acres, he further encroached on the land by approximately another 1.5 acres. This means that Bobi Wine was now occupying approximately two acres illegally. On July 1, 2015, Bobi Wine was informed in writing to stop any activities he is carrying out on this land and advised to shift his One Love Beach parking lot within the legally leased 6.25 acres. Bobi Wine refused to adhere to all these instructions.
Finally, on March 27, 2017, Nkuluze informed the O/C Police of Kaazi-Busabala that they will take possession of this land on March 29, 2017 to enable the land lord use his land at his discretion. Bobi Wine was duly informed and got a copy of the letter to O/C Police of Kaazi-Busabala. Bobi Wine didn’t contact Nkuluze upon receiving this letter. From 2011 to March 2017, Bobi Wine was informed in writing regarding this land and requests to meet him and solve the issue amicably fell on deaf ears.
It is, therefore, surprising that Bobi Wine is now using the media to put the good name of the Kingdom in disrepute when it is him who occupied the land illegally and forcefully. Some members of Bobi Wine’s family have made phone calls threatening Kingdom employees regarding this issue. We advise Bobi Wine to restrain his family members from making such threats.
Ssaabasajja Kabaka Awangaale
Owek Noah Kiyimba
Minister of Information, Protocol and Kingdom Spokesman
Bobi Wine Rebuttal — On Friday 7th April, 2017, people working under the direction and authority of Nkuluze (The Royal Treasury) of Buganda Kingdom trespassed on my land, illegally razed it and destroyed a lot of valuable property at ‘One Love Beach’ in Busabala where I and my family conduct business.
I had decided not to release a press statement on this grave injustice committed to me by Buganda Kingdom officials. However, I am prompted to respond after reading the statement from Owek. Noah Kiyimba, the Kingdom’s Minister of information. In that statement, there were many deliberate lies, inconsistencies and misinformation intended to portray me as someone who was illegally occupying the land in question and who had been warned several times to vacate it and refused.
It was disturbing that in his statement Owek. Kiyimba decided to reveal my transactions which I considered confidential. Even then, he did not give full facts but rather tilted them to favor one side. I was disheartened to see that statement shared on Owekitibwa the Katikiro’s facebook page without hearing my side on this issue, despite my relentless efforts to reach him. I would request the Katikiro to take some time out of his busy schedule and read the file concerning this land so that he gets the true facts. I have therefore, in this statement, decided to set the record straight and point out the glaring injustices that are being perpetrated by Buganda Kingdom officials not only to me but perhaps also to many people in Uganda who have either bought land from or lived on land belonging to Buganda Kingdom but are being blackmailed and cowed into silence.
Let me therefore clarify the following.
1. I am a very strong believer in Nyaffe Buganda and I have for all my youthful years used my talents and energies to support the Kingdom activities and rally people to love it and support it. I hold my Kabaka- His Highness Ronald Edward Frederick Kimera Muwenda Mutebi II in the greatest esteem. I revere him and I believe all Baganda should! Even in these trying times, my allegiance to my King and Buganda Kingdom remains unshaken!
2. I am a peace loving man who believes in hard work. As an entrepreneur, I have over the years participated in various transactions in trying to buy and develop land from Buganda Kingdom officials not only for my benefit but also for the benefit of many young and old people who I offer employment, promote their talents and economically empower them. In most cases, those officials were acting for and on behalf of His Highness the Kabaka under the institution of ‘Nkuluze’. In most of the transactions I was treated unjustly and unfairly by those officials, but I decided to keep quiet in reverence of my Kingdom.
3. For example, in 2009, I bought 4 acres of land located in Mulago, Kibuga, Block 29, Plot 315 from the Kabaka of Buganda (Copies of the agreement are all available.) I paid the full agreed amount of 150M UgX. I even had to acquire a bank loan to pay for the land! I started compensating the tenants on the land. In 2010, 11 months after I had bought the land, I was informed by Mr. Nsereko David, the same person who had communicated the acceptance of the sale on behalf of the Kabaka, that the Kabaka had changed his mind about the sale of the land. I lost that plot without payment for all the expenses I had incurred while compensating the tenants. Without any consultation, I was given a refund of only the 150m UgX I had paid as if the value of the land had not accumulated. I also had to individually meet the bank interests and all other expenses. Despite my obvious disappointment, out of respect for my Kabaka, I let it go peacefully. At that time, I had started buying land from ‘bibanja’ holders in Busabala with the intention of setting up a beach and recreational facilities. The Kingdom officials convinced me that if I let go of the land in Mulago, they would grant me a lease on the land in Busabala. I had already started developing the land (approximately 6.25 acres) where the beach is located currently.
4. In 2010, with a desire to expand, I applied for a lease in Busabala – Kaazi, Plots 7060 and 7065- from the Buganda Kingdom Treasury- “The Nkuluze”. In April, 2010, I paid the requisite application fees, and with approval of Mr. Nsereko David – “Omuwi wamagezi kutaaka lya Kabaka”, I remitted the survey fees. On 6th February 2014, I officially received the grant of a forty nine (49) years sub-lease on plots 7060 and 7065 curved out of the Kabaka’s land in Busabala. I further paid the stipulated premium of UgX 20,000,000 (Twenty million shillings) and took great care to compensate all the tenants on the land.
5. I developed the land and have continued to do so to this very day. I have incurred a lot of expenses extending electricity to the area which was relatively isolated from the grid as well as constructing an access road to the area. Not only were Nkuluze officials aware of all these activities on the two plots by 2010, but they also sanctioned these projects eagerly and appreciated me for working hard and making Buganda proud. By the time the place was razed,i had developed it, imported and planted several tree species, set up electricity poles for lights and put in place several other valuable structures that were destroyed by the graders under supervision by police officers.
6. The Katikiro has visited the beach several times and also been to this parking area that the officials say I encroached upon. Several Kingdom activities have taken place on this land including; “empaka za amaato” preparations as well as some fundraising events for “etofaali” which were all officiated by Buganda Kingdom officials. Even some of the trees in this place were planted by the Katikiro!
7. In 2015, four years after fulfilling all conditions for the sub-lease, including payment of the twenty million shillings premium, remittance of Busuulu for four years and, compensation of the squatters on the land, I received an unfortunate communication from Mr. Nsereko David informing me that the Kabaka had cancelled his offer to grant me the sub-lease. I was informed that the Kabaka had once again changed his mind after selling me the two plots. I was disappointed and up to now I am not sure if His Highness the Kabaka is aware of this clearly unjust treatment. Without consulting me, they arbitrarily wrote to me saying that they had diverted the money which I had paid for this land to clear my outstanding balance on another plot from a different transaction!
8. I expressed my concerns to Nkuluze officials and told them that it was illegal and unjust to simply cancel my sub-lease four years after I had paid the money, compensated the squatters and developed the land. However, I indicated that as a humble son of the Kingdom, I was open to resolving it amicably, even if it meant paying more money for the same land I had already fully paid for and invested in heavily. I was advised by Mr. Nsereko David as well as Owek. Kitenda John- “Omuwanika W’enkuluze” that His Highness the Kabaka wanted to use the land and that if I created some room for Him, I would be allowed to retain my land. I went ahead and did as advised and as a loyal subject of the Kingdom, gave up a portion of my land, compensated the squatters on the adjacent land (approximately 1.5 acres) and cleared it of all the structures I had installed, to enable His Highness the Kabaka use it. It is therefore NOT TRUE as stated in Owek. Kiyimba’s statement that I refused to meet Nkuluze officials over this matter. In fact in 2015, I was asked to pay survey fees for the second time, over the same land, which I did.
9. Therefore, the sudden eviction and forceful grading of my land without notice or any Court Order; land which I acquired legally and have invested heavily in, jointly perpetuated by Buganda Kingdom officials and Uganda Police under the supervision of ASP John Garvin, came as a shocking surprise. While the destruction took place, I tried to reach out to Kingdom officials for help but they made themselves unavailable. Even when I requested to remove some of my valuable assets before they could destroy other structures, that request was denied. It was highhandedness and impunity on display!
10. The events above have affected me and my family and whereas we have kept quiet for a long time, anti ebyomunju tebitotolwa and out of respect for Buganda Kingdom, I believe that what is happening to me is also happening to many other local people who are occupying His Highness the Kabaka’s land. I believe that such violations of people’s rights and impunity on the part of Mengo officials should not continue- our Kingdom stands for values which include justice and respect. We have for a long time been condemning injustice in our country. We cannot condone it in the affairs of OUR OWN KINGDOM
11. I wish to also STATE CATEGORICALLY that as a humble man who believes in empowering common people, I cannot be the same person illegally evicting them from their land or destroying their property. I have seen those allegations being made. As a matter of fact, officials from Mengo have often sent people who park their vehicles at One Love Beach during the day and in the night go and carry out demolitions and evictions around Busabala. Some people seeing that the vehicles came from the Beach falsely accused me of evicting them and I kept quiet out of humility and respect for my Kingdom and its officials. Therefore, I have never illegally evicted anyone from land in Busabala. To the Kingdom officials- please stop committing injustices on your own people, while you hide behind His Highness the Kabaka.
12. I love peace, and I am still open to peaceful resolution of these issues and although the Kingdom Officials have denied me audience, I hope it may please Ssaabasajja Kabaka to hear my pleas and those of the common person, intervene and restore sanity at Mengo. I HAVE NOT AND WILL NEVER encourage or support anyone, family members or otherwise, to threaten Mengo Kingdom officials as was portrayed in Owek. Kiyimba’s statement. I also take this opportunity to once again encourage all people- relatives, friends, fans, and all those concerned about my plight to stay calm in the midst of all these challenges, be patient and desist from using foul language. To my fellow Baganda, especially the Youth, we should not let this incident divide us but rather unite us and cause us to think deeply and work hard for the Buganda and Uganda which we want our children to inherit.
13. Although it was not my intention to pursue this matter any longer, Owek. Kiyimba’s statement has left me with no option but to seek justice and clear my name through all available legal avenues. This decision comes after long and deep thought, and I hope it can be a step towards pursuing justice for many people and improving relations between the Kingdom and the common person.
Sabasajja Kabaka awangale!
Kyagulanyi Sentamu (Bobi Wine)
13 April 2017