Hoima High Court Lawyer Declines Mediation Offer by RCC in Land Dispute

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Mr. Christopher Mwebaza, a lawyer representing the Hoima High Court, has rejected the mediation proposal put forth by Mr. Badru Mugabi, the Hoima Resident City Commissioner (RCC), in a land dispute involving former Hoima councillor, Ms. Bernadette Plan, and Mr. William Kiiza.

The disagreement centers around a six-acre piece of land situated in Bujwahya East Cell, Kihombooza Ward, West Division, Hoima City.

Mr. Kiiza’s absence at a reconciliation meeting with Ms. Plan on Thursday was evident, following the advice of his legal counsel, Mr. Mwebaza of Mwebaza & Co. Advocates. The lawyer expressed that an uninvited person, who could potentially be prejudicial, was overseeing the meeting. In a letter dated Thursday, July 27, 2023, addressed to the Division Police Commander of Hoima Central Police Station, Mr. Mwebaza stated that his client could not attend the reconciliation meeting due to the presence of an external force at the site.

Mr. Mwebaza emphasized that his client acknowledged and valued the mediation and reconciliation process. Still, the external influence’s existence rendered the intended mediator impartial, prompting them to opt for a legal resolution in court.

Furthermore, the lawyer argued that Mr. Kiiza’s workers, who were involved in the land matter, were currently in police custody, and the short notice of the meeting hindered adequate preparation for disclosure. Mr. Mwebaza asserted that they would consider mediation once the workers were released.

In response to the lawyer’s rejection, Mr. Kiiza questioned RCC Mugabi’s involvement in chairing the reconciliatory meeting, as he was not among the invited participants.

Mr. Kiiza recounted that following his father’s passing in 1980 when he was just three days old, he grew up away from home. During this time, some residents encroached upon the land and eventually sold it to the now deceased Plan Bazaara, Ms. Bernadette Plan’s late husband.

Nevertheless, Mr. Kiiza expressed willingness to resolve the dispute outside court, under the right conditions.

While present at the site, Mr. Mugabi asserted that he had directed the Division Police Commander, SSP Alex Wabwire, to convene the meeting to resolve the matter amicably, with the aim of preventing any violent confrontations over the land.

Despite the lawyer’s objections, the RCC urged local authorities and residents not to allow anyone with a grudge to disturb the trees planted on the disputed land.

Ms. Bernadette Plan maintains her claim of ownership over the contested land, asserting that her late husband acquired it in 2004, and the family has documentation and agreements confirming the legitimacy of the land transaction.

Mr. Christopher Kirungi, the Chairman of Bujwahya East Cell, also vouched for Ms. Plan’s ownership, having personally written and signed the land transaction agreements in her favor.

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