In Masaka City, residents of the Old Kumbu Housing estate are facing uncertainty and eviction threats. They are also unsure about who owns the land, which is also claimed by the Buganda Land Board (BLB).
The Old Kumbu Housing estate, built in 1947, consists of 53 housing units on Plot 55-56 Old Bukoba Road and Plot 98-104 Forest Road in Kimaanya/Kyabakuza Municipality.
Zaitun Muyoba, one of the residents, said she secured tenancy in 2005 from the then Masaka Municipal Council (now the city council). However, some individuals with surveyors have appeared, asserting ownership of her house.
“Some people have come here with surveyors from Masaka City. They have re-demarcated the area and reduced the plots from 35 by 70 feet to 35 by 35 feet, which goes against the order issued by the city physical planning committee,” she explained.
Abdul Bukenya, another tenant, reported that a group of men recently came to the estate and measured several housing units. They claimed ownership but did not provide details.
Efforts to seek clarity from city council offices have been unfruitful. The uncertainty about ownership has deterred residents from investing in the deteriorating houses.
Besides eviction threats, sitting tenants are also unsure about the rightful owner of the land, as it is claimed by Buganda Land Board (BLB).
In 2009, BLB surveyors advised residents to register and regularize their occupancy, but some residents, like Rose Nayiga, did not participate.
When contacted, Masaka City clerk Vincent Okurut assured residents that there were no immediate plans for eviction. He emphasized that the land belongs to Masaka City, and sitting tenants would be given priority when redevelopment plans are finalized.
However, Mr. Abdallah Kato, the Kabaka’s deputy chief for Buddu County, insists that the Old Kumbu housing estate land is owned by Buganda Kingdom and was confiscated by former President Milton Obote’s government in 1966.
“Old Kumbu estate land is just a small portion of the vast acreage of land the kingdom owns in Masaka City,” he noted. He suggested that the city authorities should collaborate with BLB if they wish to continue using the land.