Police have summoned four Jinja City officials for allegedly parceling out three acres of land at Walukuba Health Centre IV to unknown persons who have started developing it.
The officials include Mr. Charles Nampendo, the senior physical planner, Mr. Ernest Nabihamba, the senior environment officer, Mr. Moses Lorika, the Jinja City town clerk, and Dr. Joseph Wakonta, the facility in charge. The facility sits on eight acres.
Mr. Darius Nandinda, the Jinja Resident City Commissioner (RCC), last Thursday gave the officer in charge (OC) Jinja Central Police Station, Mr. Maurice Niyonzima, two weeks to investigate the matter.
Mr. Nandinda, who was meeting residents of Walukuba over the matter, said the four officials’ actions are “questionable” and are “responsible” for allowing encroachment on the land because they are the key custodians of the government property.
During the meeting, two agents of the suspected encroachers were arrested and taken into custody at Jinja Central Police Station to help with investigations.
“He said: “I want the Police to open a file for these employees of Jinja City and investigate how some individuals acquired land titles on the health center land. The Police will make a follow-up with the registrar of lands who will make verification, We must protect this land,” said Mr. Nandinda.
The RCC, who was accompanied by Mr. Mike Ssegawa, the deputy RDC Jinja South Division, then halted all ongoing activities on the contested land, directing staff who have food in the garden to harvest, but not dig until investigations are complete.
According to Mr. Nandinda, one of the biggest challenges in Jinja City is the grabbing of government land, which he said is being carried out by some government workers.
As a remedy, he said the practice can only end if the President sets up a commission of inquiry specifically for Jinja City.
“It is a very big challenge because government land for institutions, especially forests, schools, and hospitals have been grabbed,” Mr. Nandinda added.
Mr. Richard Bazira, the councilor representing Jinja South East, said he is optimistic that the Office of the RCC will unearth more land-grabbing deals by some political leaders and workers.
Mr. Bazira, who was delivered at the health center and was raised in Walukuba to date, said it is not about protecting votes, but offering service delivery to the people; that is why residents are concerned about the spate of land grabbing.
Mr. Frank Nsamba, a resident, said the facility, established in the 1960s, would have lost all its land if the residents were not vigilant. “Many people, including some security personnel, have even been bribed to protect these land grabbers,” Mr. Nsamba said.
He added: “Mr RCC these people dealing in land grabbing in Jinja city have many and can do anything to someone trying to step in their way. We are very happy that you have joined us in the fight for our health center land recovery.”