Minister Sam Mayanja Denies Allegations of Inciting Unrest in Mukono District After Land Dispute Interventions

Minister Sam Mayanja Denies Allegations of Inciting Unrest in Mukono District After Land Dispute Interventions
Minister of state for lands, housing and urban development, Hon. Sam Mayanja. Photo/Courtesy

Chaos erupted in parts of Mukono District following a series of locus visits led by Dr. Sam Mayanja, the Minister of State for Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, on May 16, 2024.

The minister's interventions in local land disputes, intended to enforce rightful land ownership, sparked unlawful demonstrations and violent confrontations.

Dr. Mayanja has firmly denied allegations that he incited these disturbances.

Tensions at St. Luke's Church, Kirangira

The unrest primarily centered around St. Luke's Church in Kirangira after Dr. Mayanja addressed a contentious land dispute.

Kasango Godfrey alleged that Rev. Kityo Rogers, acting on behalf of the church, demolished his house to make way for new construction, despite pending criminal charges against the Reverend for malicious damage and forceful entry.

Dr. Mayanja publicly affirmed the constitutional rights of bibanja holders and condemned any violations.

He directed that the affected individuals submit a collective petition and ordered the removal of armed guards posted by Rev. Kityo.

However, following his departure, misinformation spread, claiming that the minister had authorized the destruction of the church building and the takeover of landlords' property by bibanja holders.

Violence and Vandalism

These misinterpretations led to unlawful demonstrations, with unruly crowds invading plantations, destroying crops, and killing livestock. Residents reported widespread vandalism and theft, with several farms and homes being overrun by demonstrators.

One witness described the scene: "It was chaos. People were cutting down banana plantations, looting gardens, and slaughtering animals. It felt like a free-for-all."

People protesting on behalf of the church. Photo/courtesy 

Minister's Response

In response to the escalating violence, Dr. Mayanja issued a statement categorically denying that he had directed any unlawful actions.

"I categorically deny that during my locus visit, I ever directed anybody to take the law into their own hands. The law must take its course against those behind the reported chaos and those involved," he stated.

The minister condemned the actions of the demonstrators and urged law enforcement to intervene and restore order.

He emphasized that any grievances should be addressed through legal channels and that unauthorized actions would not be tolerated.

Call for Calm and Legal Resolution

Dr. Mayanja's efforts in Mukono District were part of a broader initiative to resolve ongoing land disputes. However, the violent aftermath highlights the volatile nature of land issues in the region.

The minister called for calm and assured the public that further steps would be taken to ensure justice and peace.

Local authorities have been mobilized to address the situation, and investigations are underway to identify those responsible for the unrest.

Community leaders are also being urged to help disseminate accurate information and prevent further violence.