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LAND WOES! Minister Mayanja Survives Assassination

Junior lands minister Dr Sam Mayanja

For a third time since he first became State Minister for Lands, Dr. Sam Mayanja last week survived being assassinated during anti-land grabbing operations in the much targeted Wakiso district. The first time was sometime in February in the trenches of the Namugongo neighborhood where a prominent land grabber had directed his private security guards to shoot the Minister ostensibly for criminal trespass on what the alleged land grabber considered to be his land (8 acres).

Mayanja only survived because the guns jammed and somehow refused/failed to work when mean-looking private security guards aimed bullets at his official vehicle. He wouldn’t stand much survival chances because he was unescorted (area DPC refused to deploy) and had only his counter terrorism body guard who would easily have been outnumbered. The other incident related to Mayanja’s operations aimed at rescuing public land in Kyotera district’s Sango Bay estates.

An operative he all along mistook to be a backup emissary deployed by State House successfully infiltrated his convoy and even got himself a seat in the Minister’s official vehicle only to realize later from the President’s people that this was an impostor. On being arrested, the impostor, who had even secured space in the Minister’s office where he insisted to serve as an intelligence officer, owned up and implicated one of the former Vice Presidents claiming he was the Principal who had deployed him to sabotage the Minister from within.

THEN BUSUKUMA

Then last week Mayanja drove to Busukuma in Nansana Municipality after being petitioned by residents comprising the more than 200 families which had become homeless after being evicted by none other than Moses Kalungi, a Kwagalana member and Kampala tycoon who happens to be a young brother to Godfrey Kirumira who calls himself chairman of a group of self-declared Kampala tycoons. Mayanja has always despised this group, many of whose members he is always quick to dismiss as ‘kiwaani’ tycoons.

So, on reaching Busukuma, Mayanja (who had to cancel his planned trip to Bukalasa Lands Ministry Zonal Office) was confronted by a group of Kanyamas who introduced themselves to him as supporters and henchmen of Kalungi who inappropriately likes calling himself “Uganda’s Bill Gates.” The area RDC was at hand and informed him Kalungi had become such a big problem yet his anti-poor people activities (setting up livestock farms where he keeps horses and cattle) were being guarded by mean-looking men dressed in what resembled UPDF uniforms. The RDC also informed Mayanja that the curious ‘Bill Gates’ had been able to evict all those families (in total defiance of the President’s written and well publicized directive) because the area Police leadership and the judicial system were behind him.

The RDC informed Mayanja that, having been captured, the area Police leadership was working for Kalungi and not the ordinary Bibanja holders or owners who Gen Museveni intended to protect in his anti-evictions directive. Calling himself the area land lord and registered land owner, Kalungi had secured a court order authorizing him to evict the poor comprising the 200 families. In his directive, Gen Museveni directed that before executing such controversial court orders, the land owners must always first involve the President’s office, Ministers of Presidency and that of Lands plus the area RDC. If these object to the same, no eviction court order should be executed. Mayanja was also intrigued that the judicial officer issuing the court order never even visited the locus yet Gen Museveni has always insisted on this in his interactions with the Chief Justice and Principal Judge.

Mayanja had initially blamed the RDC wondering why he hadn’t used his power and authority to prevent Kalungi from evicting so many families in order to get space for habitation of his horses and cows. The RDC defensively assured the Minister he had tried his best but was overwhelmed by the involvement of soldiers and lack of cooperation from the Busukuma territorial police. He told the Minister that, because of his money, Kalungi had become untouchable and had been assuring them there is nothing Gen Museveni or even State House can ever do to him.

Mayanja was also exposed to an audio recording in which Kalungi was recorded disputing Gen Museveni’s credentials and suitability to be President of Uganda. The RDC had rung inviting Kalungi to come and attend the Minister’s meeting. He instead told off the RDC, who is supposed to be the President’s representative, thus: “There is nothing you can do to me because even that Minister you are talking about isn’t above me. He is below me and I’m even the one who facilitates his movements by fuelling his car.”

This unfounded claim angered Dr. Sam Mayanja who is known to be fearless and a belligerent Minister. Yet there was much more. Mayanja says that there is a recording in which the opposition-leaning tycoon Moses Kalungi belittled not only himself but the President too. “He was put on loud speaker and recorded saying don’t tell me about that so-called President of yours because he doesn’t govern me and in instances where I used my personal money to buy this land, his written directives can’t stop me. Let him issue such directives in relation to Kisozi and Nyabushozi and not here where he doesn’t own any,” a furious Mayanja said during a Sunday radio interview that was aired on 100.5 Bukedde fm. Mayanja said Kalungi isn’t as important as he takes himself to be. Vowing to cut him to size, Mayanja said Kalungi is a nobody in cases where the President’s written word is involved.

“Who is he to belittle our Ssabalwanyi like that? I’m writing to the IGP to inquire into the acquiescence of his police commanders in that Busukuma area and we shall in the end see if kiwaani Bill Gates can be above the law the way he keeps threatening everybody in that Busukuma land matter. He goes saying he can use money to silence everybody but I’m going to prove to him that some of us are in this to serve the poor Bibanja holders who elected our Ssabalwanyi and not for those small envelopes he keeps dangling,” Mayanja asserted during the 7-8pm radio talk show hosted by Teera Kaaya.

Mayanja went ahead to explain that the impunity and indifference with which Kalungi has acted so far in relation to the Busukuma land (in total defiance to the President’s written word) is proof that he was right to recently write off the entire Kwagalana group as nothing but a formation of fake or kiwaani tycoons.

“They are just speculators. Otherwise how do you impersonate the Bill Gates brand that is well known for good deeds all over the world? We all have money but this is not how we behave against the poor because they are voiceless. Unfortunately he never came to my meeting but I intended to tell him that he is a fake Bill Gates. He must be one of those narrow-minded so-called tycoons who have just known money in their adulthood and are suffering from rural excitement and arrivalism. He doesn’t even know anything by the way because he would know the responsibility that comes with being called Bill Gates. Where does Bill Gates take land from the poor? Instead the genuine Bill Gates buys land and develops it before handing it over to support the economic empowerment and transformation of poor people,” Mayanja said.

He added that he is going to work with the IGP and others in security to ensure this Busukuma matter is comprehensively and expeditiously investigated so that the so-called Bill Gates gets apprehended and confined in Luzira or Kitalya prison because, in his view, that is where he belongs. “How can he belittle the great Ssabalwanyi like that? We are going to ensure that he gets to know that there are still people like myself who can’t be silenced with that little money contained in those lousy small envelopes which he keeps dangling on some leaders to prevent them from standing up for the poor Bibanja holders.”

Mayanja said he was prepared to work with the President and the IGP and put everything else on hold until the Moses Kalungi aggression, in relation to the Busukuma land, is decisively cracked and obliterated to serve as a deterrent lesson to other so-called tycoons who think money is all that is going to matter in this country. A former Makindye Division Mayor (once married to Ntoroko Woman MP Jennifer Mujungu), Moses Kalungi has over the years been involved in many land wrangling including one involving National Housing and Construction Company relating to Makerere/Wandegeya flats. Neither is he a stranger to Luzira or even Kitalya prison where Dr. Mayanja wants him to rot.

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