Home Courts UPDF Soldier Threatens Court in Mukono Land Dispute

UPDF Soldier Threatens Court in Mukono Land Dispute


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Major Mark Wanyama, a Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) officer, expressed frustration during a court hearing regarding a land dispute in Mukono, Uganda. Wanyama has accused Mukono businessman Jackson Twinamasiko of trespassing on his land and has threatened to take matters into his own hands if he does not receive a favorable judgment. The incident occurred during a recent appearance before Mukono Chief Magistrate Roselyn Nsenge.

The tension in court arose after Stephen Turyatunga, the lawyer representing Twinamasiko, requested a prompt decision on whether to proceed with the trial or dismiss it. Turyatunga cited additional charges from the Crime Investigations Department against his client, arguing that delaying the trial until November might lead to further similar cases being brought forward by the complainant.

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In response, Magistrate Nsenge cautioned both parties against burdening the court with multiple cases on the same matter and encouraged them to follow legal processes. This advice did not sit well with Major Wanyama, who expressed dissatisfaction and a determination to protect his properties.

The dispute dates back to August 1, 2023, when Twinamasiko visited the Crime Investigations Department to address a complaint against a police officer named Ben Mugisha. However, Twinamasiko found himself arrested during the visit. Subsequently, he faced charges related to property damage, removal of boundaries, and trespassing on land claimed by Major Mark Wanyama, who owns land on Mbeya Island in Mpunge Sub-county, Mukono district.

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Twinamasiko’s lawyer argued that the case was fundamentally civil but had been inappropriately criminalized. Due to the complainant’s absence, the prosecution requested an adjournment to respond to the complaint’s lawyer’s submission.

The prosecution maintained that the case involved possession rather than ownership and alleged that the trespass occurred on June 9, 2021, with damage to Major Wanyama’s properties. The defense argued that the soldier used military force to take over land that had previously been in civilian possession, violating an interim court order obtained on November 27, 2019, and a subsequent temporary injunction issued in February 2020.

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Magistrate Nsenge agreed with the defendant’s lawyer and rescheduled the matter from November 9, 2023, to an earlier date, October 16, to determine whether to continue with the trial or drop the charges.