Locals threaten to demolish alleged Minister Kania’s building over land wrangle


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Terego | RedPepper Digital- The local residents of Maraju village, Alia Parish in Aiivu sub-county, Terego district are threatening to demolish a building allegedly constructed by the Minister of State for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mario Obiga Kania on a piece of land under contention.

The locals claim that Kania connived with three of their brothers to buy part of the 20-acre clan communal grazing land to establish the building still under construction.

As a result, a total of 74 members of Maraju-Yidu clan who were represented by Yamandu Fabian, Aluonzi Karmelo and Aluma Festus signed a petition and took the matter before the Chief Magistrate’s court of Arua seeking to reclaim the two acres of the land allegedly bought by the Minister.

The case number 0018 of 2018 was filed against Ezama Mark, Bulia Simon and Angondua Severio who are said to have sold the clan land to Kania.

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Henry Odama of Odama and Company Advocates and Solicitors, the lawyer representing the complainants confirmed the matter and said the case is coming up for ruling on January 31, 2022.

According to Odama, the ruling was earlier scheduled for December 30, 2021, but the magistrate said it wasn’t ready thus pushing it to the end of this month.

However, the aggrieved locals are now threatening to demolish the said Kania’s building and also destroy the trees planted on the contested piece of land if the ruling will not favor them.

“What we want is that these three brothers should return Kania’s money so that the land remains as we got it from our grandparents. No selling and if we are to sell part of it, over 50 per cent of the clan members should agree because we are using the land for grazing together,” Aluma Festus told journalists on Thursday.

“If the case is ruled against us, we shall still continue by appealing it because we want justice in our area and if all fails, we shall demolish Kania’s building and also uproot all the trees he has planted on our land. We are ready to die over what belongs to us, whether it means taking us all to prison, we shall go!” Aluma said.

Similarly, Fabian Yamandu wondered how the Minister could buy land without involving the elders and neighbors surrounding the area.

“We were not aware of this move only to be shocked to see Minister Kania coming to start building on our land. He continued supervising the construction works as well as planting trees in the area. When we called the three brothers for a meeting, they confessed that they sold the two acres of the land to Kania. We asked them to refund the Minister’s money but they refused and that is why we went to court,” Yamandu said, adding that if the case is ruled against them, they won’t hesitate to bring down the house in order to reclaim their land.

But in their defence filed in court on February 26, 2019, the accused denied each and every allegation of fact contained in the plaint as if the same were set out verbatim and specifically traversed.

Through their lawyers of Ederu and Gama Advocates and solicitors, the three accused locals said the suit land has never been used communally for grazing and cultivation by the whole clan as two (2) acres cannot practically accommodate animal rearing and crop cultivation for the entire clan.

“My clients have been telling the court that they were born on the contested land – meaning their fathers were there before them. They have grown on the land; it is just in 2016 when these clan members started making claims. However, the matter is still pending before court, we are still awaiting judgment. Any discussions I have regarding that matter will be prejudicial to this case so, it is my considered opinion we wait for the decision of court then we will have our reactions after that,” said Jill Dawa, the lawyer representing the defendants.

When contacted on phone, Minister Kania said: “Why don’t they destroy it (the house) today? They said if the judgment goes against them, they will destroy the house and if it goes in their favor there is no problem. I don’t know what these people are looking for from me, I don’t even understand. Me, am here very peaceful in my poverty, now people are allocating me land in court, no I have no land there,” Kania stressed.

“Even if I had land there – yes I have a lot of land in Leju but nobody has ever taken me to court.  For me to pay UGX50m for land without a document, what kind of foolish person am I? That is completely a lie, if I buy land there it will be legitimate and it will be mine. If they have problems with their brothers, that is their own problem,” Kania added.

The contested land is strategically located in Leju, just adjacent to the headquarters of Terego district local government.

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