Not yet over: Town clerk instructs lawyer to appeal against Masindi golf land case withdrawal

The Town Clerk for Masindi Municipality, Ms Ketty Kashemeire has instructed the lawyer representing the municipality to appeal against the withdrawal of a case in which it was dragged to court for alleged trespass.

This came after the Masindi Golf Club Registered Trustees withdrew the case they had filed against Masindi Municipality’s Central Division local government, the Commissioner Land Registration, Uganda’s Attorney General and Masindi District Land Board.

Led by Mr Oscar Baitwa and Mr Pantaleo Kasangaki, the trustees dragged the four defendants to Masindi High Court in 2017 for purportedly trespassing on Masindi golf land.

This came after the respondents allocated an acre of the land that was in contention to Masindi High Court and the Central Division without consulting the trustees.

Masindi High Court was allocated land by Masindi district land board on the January 3, 2017 before acquiring a land title on March 3, 2017 to pave way for the construction of Masindi High Court building.

This angered the trustees who opposed the land allocation and challenged it at Masindi High Court.

However, Mr Richard Akuzigibwe and Mr Ronald Murungi of Kabalega Advocates & Legal Consults who have been representing the registered trustees told court on Thursday that the complainants had lost interest in the case in the interest of the people of Masindi.

Mr Akugizibwe explained that the trustees had had numerous discussions with the respondents before reaching a consensus that the matter be withdrawn in the interest of peaceful coexistence between the parties and the general good of the sports fraternity in Masindi district.

The advocate added that the parties also agreed to meet their own costs of the case.

Audio: Akugizibwe on case withdrawal (English)

Seeking his opinion, the judge asked the LC 3 Chairman for Central Division Mr Frederick Bagonza Mandela, who told court that numerous discussions were held until it was agreed that the case be withdrawn.

He said it was also agreed that the Division would meet the costs for Mr Ian Musinguzi-the advocate representing the municipality since they have a running contract with him.

Presiding over the case, Justice Paul Wolimbwa Gadenya allowed the complainants to withdraw the case but advised the parties to each meet their own costs.

But Ian Musinguzi of Musinguzi & Co Advocates who was representing the Central Division insisted the plaintiffs meet the costs of the case demanding for Shs1.2 billion.

However, the judge rejected it.

Addressing journalists outside court, Mr Baitwa explained that the trustees decided to withdraw the matter following mediations with the respondents.

He told the press that the former Masindi Resident Judge, Justice Albert Rugadya Atwooki who chaired the mediations advised them to settle the matter amicably for peaceful co-existence.

“We had a case we filed here at Masindi High Court. But we withdrew it in the interest of co-existence as residents of this area. Justice Atwooki Rugadya mediated as an elder emphasising the need for the co-existence of both parties. We had sued the High Court, Masindi Municipality, the district land board for grabbing our land” Mr Baitwa explained.

“But time went by as Atwooki and other people together with us agreed that we all co-exist in this place. We accepted that the High Court building should be on this land because we need it as people of Masindi and it also helps people from this district not travelling far seeking justice. We also heard that the Court of Appeal will be established here meaning that justice will be sought right here in Masindi” he added.  

Audio: Baitwa on case withdrawal (Runyoro/ Rutooro)

However, in a twist of things, in the letter dated July 9, 2020, the Town Clerk instructs Mr Musinguzi to appeal against the withdrawal saying Mr Bagonza did not have any instruction and mandate to appear before the judge and withdraw the case without any costs.

The same letter instructs Mr Musinguzi to appeal against the withdrawal of the case.

Contacted for a comment, Mr Musinguzi confirmed receipt of the letter.

By press time, Mr Musinguzi said that he was going to file the appeal today (Friday) in the Court of Appeal.

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