“Protect qualicel bus park until courts decides winner between Muhangi and Lubega “- State House’s Mutale tasks IGP
The director of special duties in the President’s Office, Maj Kakooza Mutale, has directed the police to maintain the existing state of affairs regarding the occupancy of Qualicel Bus Park.
However, Maj Mutale addressed only the contest over Qualicel Bus Park, which sits on plots 50-52 yet there are other disputed buildings on Plot 43-47.
In a January 10th letter to the Inspector General of Police, Mr Martins Okoth-Ochola, Maj Mutale instructed him to stop any act of lawlessness on the property until the dispute is resolved.
“The President has met the warring parties for possible mediation in the dispute and therefore, nobody, either officials in government ministries or institutions should interfere with the status quo unless guided otherwise by…the President,” the letter read in part.
Maj Mutale stated that the President’s Office was investigating the circumstances under which the eviction of a city tycoon and his agents from the property was executed following advice from the Solicitor General, but the orders were later withdrawn.
The Solicitor General had earlier ordered that the land and property there be given to Horizon Coaches Ltd owned by former rally driver Charles Muhangi (now deceased).
The Solicitor General authorised the eviction of a city property mogul, Mr Drake Lubega and his partner, Mr Mansur Matovu, from Qualicel Bus Terminal Shopping Centre, Qualicel Bus Terminal and Nabukeera Arcade.
Armed police escorted men who forced Mr Lubega and his agents off the property.
The Solicitor General later withdrew the letters authorising the eviction, saying the previous orders to evict Mr Lubega and his agents from plots 43-47 on Nakivubo Road were made in error.
But Muhangi had already taken over the property and issued his own guidelines to the tenants.
A day after the eviction, Mr Lubega and Mr Matovu protested by closing other buildings around the city centre to the tenants.
Maj Mutale said despite the ongoing mediation and the pending cases by Mr Lubega in both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, there have been incidents of gunshots at the disputed site, causing unrest in the city centre.
“You should, therefore, avoid any abrupt and controversial decisions that may provoke lawlessness and chaos in the heart of the Central Business District of the city. There has been already two unwarranted shootings in the same area involving military intelligence personnel and private security guards that is also being investigated for the benefit of briefing the President,” Maj Mutale states.
“In view of the above, the purpose of this letter is to, therefore, direct you to preserve the status quo until you hear from the Supreme Court or the President for guidance,” the letter adds.
Maj Mutale also stated that there is an ongoing “multi-agency investigation” into the death of Muhangi, adding that there is need for ample time to come up with a conclusion.
Last year, police said an autopsy revealed that the businessman died of natural causes.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga on Wednesday could not confirm whether the IGP had received Maj Mutale’s letter but said the Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, Mr Moses Kafeero, had instructions to maintain the status quo of the occupancy.
“Whether he (IGP) received the letter or not does not matter. What matters is that the status quo is already being maintained by police,” Mr Enanga said.
He said the disputed property is monitored regularly like any other strategic place in the city.
When contacted on Wednesday, Mr Lubega said he had not seen a copy of Maj Mutale’s letter.
“I will only make a comprehensive response when I see the said letter. But concerning that bus park and the buildings, I cannot comment because the matter is still in court,” Mr Lubega said.
The Supreme Court and Court of Appeal are yet to give their verdict.