More than 1,000 residents in Bugonga Village, Entebbe Municipality, have been ordered to vacate a disputed piece of land measuring four acres.
According to Entebbe Chief Magistrate Mary Kisakye Kaitesi, the residents failed to present evidence, proving that the disputed land belongs to them.
In her judgment read by the new chief magistrate, Ms Mary Babirye, on Tuesday, Ms Kaitesi ruled that the Buganda Kingdom minister for trade, marketing and cooperatives, Mr Muhamood Thobani, is the rightful owner of the disputed land, according to evidence before court.
She also ordered that Mr Thobani be given vacant possession of the land and that the defendants pay the costs of the suit.
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However, the ruling angered the defendants who accused the trial magistrate of being bribed. They claimed that they have lived on the land for more than 50 years and many of them inherited it from their parents.
“It is a pity that the magistrate can pass such a judgment. We do not care whether Mr Thobani has money or not, but we are warning him not to dare step on our land because it belongs to us, where do they want us to go?” said Ms Betty Auma, one of the defendants.
Mr Achilles Kiwanuka, another defendant, said they will appeal in the High Court. “We are not going to give up until real justice prevails; we are ready to die for our land because we have nowhere to go,” he said.
On his part, Mr Thobani was upbeat about the court ruling.
“I have been patient with those squatters and I think this is the right time for them to vacate my land and enable me carry out the developments I want,” he said. This matter has been before court for nearly 12 years.