By Lawrence Kazooba
The reports that Brig Kasirye Ggwanga burnt down a tractor that had been hired to erase his wife’s property on Entebbe road, have captured many people’s imagination.
The truth of the matter, people criticizing Ggwanga, for another “mad” moment, might be missing the point.
A one David Wakabi has been all over news cursing that the one star general scotched his grader worth sh200 million to nothing. He suggested that the general should have gone to police or courts of law in case he was unhappy with the destruction on his property.
This might be a hilarious suggestion from Wakabi, who pleads ignorance of what his grader was going to do! But most importantly, for Wakabi to imagine he can do his business of destroying other people’s property, as they seek redress in long court proceedings, is laughable.
For one, his grader trespassed and destroyed things on Kasirye’s property without court or police sanctioning or protection.
The land debate in Uganda is hot today but also healthy, as for the purposes of citizens of this country need to come to the consensus over fair and equitable land ownership and land use.
Many people have been driven off land, and left landless. This is usually done by the powerful, wealthy and connected, who can bend the law in their favour.
Whereas the Ugandan law on land is very good, many people have gone away with murder, driving thousands of people from the land and their property destroyed by graders such as Wakabi’s.
It also appears that institutions of the state have lost their moral authority to arbitrate over land matters, as several state agents are themselves suspects in land grabbing or people displacement.
The revelations made before the land Commission chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire are very telling, and testimonies have proved how rotten and hapless the state machinery is over land matters in the country.
This week, land fights have not even saved the holiest of people, the chief Justice, Bart Katureebe, who unfortunately is showed on the side of the aggressor. We have heard about the role of the police, politicians, civil servants, and we have known how religious leaders are involved in the same vice.
This means, the issues of land protection, has been left to the law of the jungle. The fittest survives.
And Kasirye Ggwanga was only fit to send his enemies flying. And Wakabi’s property is the casualty. The most profound silence over the land ownership and noisy over the tractor is telling.