UPDF Major Threatens Court in Land Row

UPDF Major Threatens Court in Mukono Land Row
Major Mark Wanyama, a Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) officer, who is accusing Mukono businessman Jackson Twinamasiko of trespassing on his land, has threatened to take a criminal path if he doesn’t receive justice. He issued the threats while appearing before the Mukono Chief Magistrate, Roselyn Nsenge on Thursday.
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Major Mark Wanyama, a Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) officer, involved in a land dispute case against Mukono businessman Jackson Twinamasiko, has expressed frustration and hinted at taking a different approach if he doesn’t receive a fair resolution. This happened during his appearance before Mukono Chief Magistrate Roselyn Nsenge after she advised him to be cautious in his testimony.

The situation arose following a request by Stephen Turyatunga, Twinamasiko’s lawyer, who asked the court to consider a sooner date for a decision on whether to proceed with the trial or dismiss it. Turyatunga explained that his client had been informed by the Crime Investigations Department about additional charges related to those already in court.

Turyatunga stated, “If the court insists on postponing the matter until November, the complainant may continue to bring additional similar cases before this one concludes. Your Worship, I request that you schedule a date, preferably in October, for a decision on this matter while we await the High Court’s determination of the land’s rightful owner.”

In response, Nsenge cautioned both parties against overloading the court with unnecessary cases and urged them to let legal procedures run their course. She warned, “Filing multiple cases on the same issue must stop. Wasting the court’s time will not serve your interests. Let’s focus on substantial cases.”

Major Wanyama expressed dissatisfaction with the caution, asserting, “These individuals seem to believe that being soldiers means we can’t fight for what rightfully belongs to us. I can take a similar approach as he did to reclaim what is mine.”

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The dispute dates back to August 1, 2023, when Twinamasiko visited the Crime Investigations Department to follow up on a complaint against Ben Mugisha, a police officer from the land protection desk. During this visit, Twinamasiko was unexpectedly arrested. Although he was later granted a police bond, Twinamasiko faced arrest again on August 3, 2023, on charges related to property damage, boundary removal, and trespassing on land claimed by Major Mark Wanyama. The disputed land is situated on Mbeya Island in Mpunge Sub-county within Mukono district.

Twinamasiko’s lawyer argued that the case is fundamentally a civil matter and should not have been turned into a criminal case. The prosecution requested an adjournment due to the complainant’s absence and the need for more time to respond to the complainant’s lawyer’s arguments.

The prosecution contended that the dispute involves possession rather than ownership and stated that the trespass occurred on June 9, 2021, resulting in damage to Major Wanyama’s properties. Turyatunga argued that the soldier used military force to take control of land previously in civilian possession, in violation of an interim court order from November 27, 2019, and a subsequent temporary injunction issued in February 2020.

Magistrate Nsenge concurred with the defendant’s lawyer and rescheduled the matter from November 9, 2023, to an earlier date, October 16, to determine whether to proceed with the trial or drop the charges.

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