In Mario Puzo’s award Winning book, ‘The Godfather’, Mafia Don Corleone unleashes a basic truth: “There are men in this world,” he said, “who go about demanding to be killed. You must have noticed them. They quarrel in gambling games, they jump out of their automobiles in a rage if someone so much as scratches their fender, and they humiliate and bully people whose capabilities they do not know. I have seen a man, a fool, deliberately infuriate a group of dangerous men, and he himself without any resources. These are people who wander through the world shouting, ‘Kill me. Kill me.’ And there is always somebody ready to oblige them.” Analysts say one of such men, unfortunately, is Lands Minister Sam Mayanja.
Whereas Mayanja, some observers say, has cut a posture of a common man’s leader here to save the landless and those being chased from their land especially bibanja holders and at the same time guarded by sharp shooters, recent history has shown that the mafia can kill anybody.
They killed President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic Congo and other high profile leaders; they killed AIGP Andrew Kaweesi with his guard and the driver; they killed Ibrahim Abiriga and his soldier brother; they killed Maj Muhamad Kigundu and others. If they don’t shoot…’there are many ways of killing a rat,’ so the saying goes.
Very soon, watchers predict that the latest Ugandan martyr to join the long list could be someone called Dr. Sam Mayanja.
In this briefing, we analyze why Mayanja, maybe a target for murder by the mafia.
Security agencies are pursuing private guards who shot at Lands minister Sam Mayanja as he attempted to solve a land wrangle in Hoima district.
The incident reportedly happened on Thursday at Rwobunyonyi village, Buraru parish in Kyabigambire sub-county in Hoima district.
Ever since he was appointed lands minister, Mayanja has distinguished himself as a common man’s leader.
He has been visiting various contested land areas especially those involving bibanja holders on verge of eviction.
As expected, some of his decisions have rattled and pleased many accordingly and this explains why he has since become a marked man.
Reports indicate that on Thursday Mayanja was shocked when private guards deployed by one Fred Mugamba to protect his land fired bullets to keep everyone off including the minister himself.
None was injured in the melee.
According to the affected residents, they claim Mugamba has been keeping them away from this land and has been destroying their food and property and had called on Minister Mayanja to save them.
NOT THE FIRST TIME
This is the fourth time Mayanja has survived assassination ever since he became a minister two years back.
NAMUGONGO INCIDENT (1ST TIME)
The first time was sometime in February last year 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.
KYOTERA-SANGO BAY (2ND TIME)
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.
WAKISO-BUSUKUMA (3RD TIME)
In May still last year, Mayanja survived being assassinated during anti-land grabbing operations in the much targeted Wakiso district.
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 a 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 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 was going to work with the IGP and others in security to ensure this Busukuma matter was 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.
Apart from wrangles, Mayanja’s legal firm KAA advocates where he is partner has handled many cases in court and outcomes have not always favored everyone.
Mayanja is also a known critic of the Buganda Kingdom and its leadership. However, there are Buganda nationalists who may not take his criticism in good faith.
CLOSE ALLY SUDDEN DEATH
Watchers also point at the recent mysterious death of a top official in the lands Ministry who was close to Mayanja as an eye opener.
The incident was in April last year. He was to have Easter with members of his extended family in Fort Portal but that never happened because he insisted on completing some pending tasks at the Lands Ministry offices in Kampala. We are talking about Land Information Systems (LIS) Commissioner Grace Kagoro who had served as a key member of top management and land computerization consultant for the GoU and World Bank for the last more than 25 years. He became Commissioner in charge of computerization of land management/Land Information Systems (LIS) a few years ago after the sudden early retirement by Commissioner Oput who he used to deputize. Renowned for hard work, incorruptibility and spontaneous humility, Kagoro was the man heading a department that had the largest amount of donor money at the Lands Ministry. Programs like CEDEP, into which the World Bank sunk close to Shs1trn to facilitate the establishment of 21 Lands Ministry Zonal Offices/branches, were all under him as Commissioner Land Information Systems. Kagoro, who has closely been working with Mayanja, has been the President’s key man on most of the reforms into the land management that the NRM government continues to undertake.
The 21 Ministry Zonal Offices/branches, meant to decentralize land registration and management services, were all constructed under his supervision as the LIS Commissioner and the resultant efficiency and service delivery improvements enabled the GoU repay the WB loan for CEDEP I (close to Shs1trn) ahead of the scheduled time. The impressed World Bank bosses offered to give another Shs345bn for phase II in order to accelerate the operationalization of the newly established 21 Lands Ministry Zonal Offices or branches across the country. The newly established MZOs were to get adequate staff recruited etc using the project’s 2nd phase for which Kagoro has been Coordinator.
His work ethic and incorruptibility had won kudos for Kagoro among the WB officials in Kampala and at the same time enemies among some GoU officials who failed to eat some of the money because of Kagoro‘s ability to frequently access the President and raise the red flag regarding those trying to corrupt him. For instance, on realizing, Kagoro as Coordinator was determined to loyally work for the people of Uganda as opposed to conniving with them to rip off the country, some of the influential GoU officials decampaigned the idea of taking the Shs346bn for 2nd phase and initially got Gen Museveni to buy into their view. When the veteran leader from Rwakitura objected, basing on misinformation self-seekers had fed him with, the World Bank officials sneaked Grace Kagoro into State House where he gave the more accurate version unmasking many of the falsehoods the President had been told. A newly converted Gen Museveni rang then late PSST Keith Muhakanizi demanding that Uganda immediately takes up the Shs345bn for the project’s 2nd phase especially that the Kangaroo-spearheaded reforms had resulted into the Lands Ministry promptly repaying the loan through improved service delivery efficiency and statutory fees collections.
This angered many powerful people in government who resented Kagoro largely because of his incorruptibility. They tried to bad mouth him before the President but the man from Rwakitura remained adamant asserting that he knew the seasoned and humble technocrat from Fort Portal better than those who were trying to demonize and antagonize him with the State House.
Besides staffing the MZOs, phase II (which was already ongoing) was also about accelerating documentation and titling of the land that the GoU continues to acquire for its landless citizens using the Land Fund. It’s also about issuing certificates of occupancy for Bibanja holders and regularizing those occupying former public land under customary arrangements. It was Kagoro who convinced Gen Museveni that there was no way land management would be streamlined without cleaning up land registration processes and digitizing them. It’s because of his efforts that it these days takes fewer days to do title search or get one’s transaction or even mortgage registered and authenticated at any of the land offices. He had convinced the President this is the only way the government’s economic transformation programs (as articulated under PDM, the NDP III or even the NRM Manifesto) would be successfully achieved.
To Gen Museveni, Kagoro was the man who knew much about the journey to transform land registration and management in this country. Each time he met the WB and other funding institutions to discuss matters relating to land, Kagoro always had to be there to give the technical guidance. Kagoro had previously complained to some of his political leaders at the Lands Ministry about some people wanting to bump him off because he had resisted efforts to be recruited in mafia schemes to rip off the taxpayer as the Shs345bn CEDEP II gets rolled out. The mafia actors always wanted to eat off some of the money and yet this would only be possible if Kagoro, as project Coordinator and line Commissioner, played ball. Yet the man from Fort Portal could never do that because he always said he resented disappointing the President and his ultimate bosses, the people of Uganda.
DYING ON EASTER SUNDAY
Having worked and left his Wandegeya LIS offices late on Saturday, Kagoro (in his early 50s) stayed home and rested on Sunday as he prepared his wife and children to travel to Fort Portal that very day late evening. And indeed, that’s what happened. But on Friday he had suffered sudden stomach upsets as his abdomen area became frighteningly swollen amidst a lot of pain. He was rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with mild indigestion complications which medics assured him was not life-threatening and it indeed cleared upon basic medication. He got well and even worked on Saturday.
On Easter Sunday in the evening, Kagoro drove his wife and children to Fort Portal where he planned to enjoy Easter Monday with extended family members and travel back to Kampala on Tuesday morning for work. On arrival in Fort Portal, Kagoro, having driven all the way from Kampala, rested as his wife went to the kitchen to prepare dinner. On completing dinner preparations, the wife came to wake him up but he wasn’t responding. She tried waking him up only to realize he was lifeless. She made an alarm which attracted neighbors who helped her confirm he was gone.
On getting the information of his death in Kampala, the Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba became very frightened as she informed fellow members of top management none of whom could believe Grace Kagoro was gone.
Kagoro was always a peaceful man who never quarreled with anyone and many are wondering why anyone would target him. He would be in office at 7am and was always the last one to leave. He resided in Kawanda and always despised the opulent lifestyle.
The World Bank greatly valued him and there are fears his death or absence might, in some way, complicate the relationship between the Lands Ministry and the World Bank which often used him to popularize and introduce similar land reforms (computerization etc) in countries like Tanzania and Rwanda whose land management officials were always frequenting Uganda to benefit from Grace Kagoro-enabled benchmarking engagements. Grace Kagoro has also been at the frontline in implementing the Gen Museveni-instigated land redistribution reforms in Minister Peace Mutuuzo’s Bunyangabu district where GoU bought/acquired huge chunks of land and redistributed it to the hundreds of landless households. DEAR READER, DO YOU HAVE A HOT STORY YOU WOULD LIKE US TO PUBLISH… FRAUD IN BANKS, BETTING FIRMS, CHEATERS, DIVORCE FILES, SEX NETWORKS, SEX FOR MARKS, HARASSMENT OF ALL NATURE AT OFFICE BY YOUR BOSS, CHILD NEGLECT, WETLAND OCCUPATION, ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION, VIDEOS, IMPUNITY or CORRUPTION (in government agencies/ MDA’s, NGOs, Ministries, Private sector), FIGHTS IN OFFICES, JOB WARS/ WITCH HUNT, URA TAX FRAUD/NON-COMPLIANCE, CHEATING MONEY LENDERS, BUSINESS WRANGLES, SUBSTANDARD PRODUCTS, GOLD SCAMS, NSSF REMITTANCES NON COMPLIANCE, LAND ISSUES, INTERNAL AUDIT REPORTS EXPOSES, POLITICAL WRANGLES…ETAL.
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