Crisis: Lord Mayor Lukwago Defies Court Order, Appoints Balondemu As Chairman K’la District Land Board

Veteran lawyer Hajji Elias Lukwago, who is the Kampala city Lord Mayor, has done the unthinkable by defying a court order that barred him from appointing David Balondemu as the Chairman of the Kampala District Land Board.

Lukwago appointed Balondemu as Chairman despite the fact that an order issued by the High Court in June 2020 prohibits him from undertaking any such appointments until court pronounced itself on the same matter.

Lukwago’s letter dated September 16th, 2020 to Balondemu notifying him about the appointment, which is total contravention of the court orders, reads in part thus;

“REF: APPOINTMENT AS A CHAIRMAN OF THE KAMPALA DISTRICT LAND BOARD
Following the clearance of the minutes of the ordinary council authority meeting held on the 24th day of June 2020 by the Honorable Minister of Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs in her letter dated the 15th day of September 2020 , and in accordance with Article 240 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995, Sec 56 and 57 of the land act CAP 227(as amended) , and PURSUANT to the earlier letter dated the 26th day of June 2020 where you were appointed as a member of the Kampala District Land Board.

I have the pleasure to inform you that you have been appointed as Chairman of the Kampala District Land Board effective the 19th day of September, 2021 for a term 5 years.

Your appointment will be part-time and you will be paid emoluments as stipulated in the general standing instructions or as shall he determined by the Authority from time to time.

In the performance of your duties, you are expected to exhibit a high level of integrity , accountability and proper aptitude while taking into account all the relevant laws as well as national and district policies on land affairs.

Please confirm in writing your acceptance of appointment as chairperson of the Kampala District Land Board.”

Balondemu’s appointment letter from Mr. Erias Lukwago reads

But it should be noted that the court order that prohibited him and other officials at the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) was issued after Anatoli Byakora petitioned the High Court vide Miscellaneous Application No.292 of 2020 and Miscellaneous Application No. 251 of 2020 arising from Miscellaneous Application No. 250 of 2020.

In the petitioned filed against Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Hon. Abubaker Kawalya (KCCA Speaker), Byakora challenged endorsement of the names of individuals seconded by KCCA to make up the District Land Board.

The names of other members on the board include;

i) Mrs.Teopista Ntale Sekitto – Representative for Makindye Division Urban Council.
ii) Mr. Nasser Bassajjabalaba- Representative for Kawempe Division Urban Council.
iii) Mrs. Christine Kyeyune Kawooya – Rubaga Division Urban Council.
iv) Mr. Balondemu David- for Central Division Urban Council.
v) Mr. Anguria Joseph – representative for Urban Councils

In his petition, the applicant (Byakora), prayed for orders declaring the Orders issued by respondents on the 22nd of June 2020 forwarding names to constitute the Kampala Land Board illegal because it contravened an Interim Court order dated June 5th, 2020.

The Order herein emanated from Miscellaneous Application No. 251 of 2020 arising from Misc. Application No. 250 of 2020 which arose out of Misc. Cause No. 105 of 2020. On the 5th of June 2020.
“This Court determined M.A. No. 251 of 2020, in the presence of Mr. Nsamba Geoffrey Counsel for the Applicant herein, and Mr. Byaruhanga Dennis who appeared with Mr.Mwanja Brian Counsel for the respondents.

The order as extracted reads as follows:
a) This court grants an interim order pending the determination of the Application for temporary injunction.
b) The costs shall be in the cause.

This Order is on the Court record. Its existence is not denied by the 1st respondent. The Court also notes that second respondent did not deny existence of the above court Order. I find that this this element is sufficiently proved on the evidence,” Justice Michael Elubu partly stated in his ruling.

He continued that; “The Indian Supreme Court has considered a similar matter and held that any order passed by any authority in spite of the knowledge of an order of the court, is of no consequence as it remains a nullity and any subsequent action thereof would also be a nullity. The same position was held in the case of Union of India and Another vs. Ashok Kumar Civil Appeal 9454 of 2013 of the Indian Supreme Court.

Indeed this Court finds that the Orders of the Respondent issued on the 22nd of June 2020 are of no consequence as they were issued in contravention of this Court’s Interim Order. The aim of interim injunctions is to preserve the status quo until the determination of the main suit.
In the same way the proceedings of the meeting of the Council meeting held on the 22nd of June 2020 in as far as they are in contravention of the Interim Order are declared illegal.”

However, despite the court ruling, which was made by Justice Elubu, Lukwago and his KCCA team have in total defiance, not only appointed Balondemu as chairman but constituted the entire Kampala District Land Board.

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