Government has condemned the unacceptable actions by some property owners who have been closing shopping arcades in Kampala Central Business District along Nakivubo Road without any notice or even due regard to the livelihood of tenants operating in those premises.
Addressing a press conference at Uganda Media Centre this morning, Hon. Namugwanya Benny Bugembe the Minister of State for Kampala capital city and metropolitan affairs said that government is fully aware of the on-going property dispute which has dragged Mr. Drake Lubega, Mr. Mansour Matovu a.k.a.Young on the one hand, and the late Charles Muhangi’s family interests in the complex along Nakivubo Road.
She notes that the unfortunate dispute and wrangle has adversely affected a number of businesses and tenants housed in Qualicell Mall, Nabukeera Plaza, and Jamboree shopping mall as some agents to the landlords on Wednesday were sealing off the premises by welding the shop entrances without giving any alternative accesses into the building.
The minister notes that this act is unacceptable and accordingly government has resolved to deploy Police and other security agencies in and around the disputed property to keep law and order until the situation becomes calm and normal.
Police has also been directed to ensure that the premises are accessible and calm and that there is no unwarranted disruption of business operations.
On the issue of property ownership, Hon. Namugwanya says the status quo shall be maintained until the issue of ownership is determined by court or until court issues a Contrary Order.
She has directed that landlords shall not demand rental arrears from tenants who have proof that they paid to Mr. Muhangi for the period when he was in possession.
Also, government through the Attorney General’s office shall negotiate a modality of opening up an escrow account, where all disputed or accruing rent for the period after February 2019, shall be paid and held therein until the final case is determined by courts of law.
“The tenants are advised to continue paying rent as it falls due. All affected tenants are hereby advised to remain calm and to cooperate with the landlord currently in possession of the property, as Government finds a lasting solution to this stalemate” she advised.
The minister warned Landlords against locking up shops or even welding entrances without following lawful procedures to enforce recovery of any outstanding rent from the tenants.
“Further to the above, Government has also noted with concern that there is on-going construction works being carried out by Mr. Drake Lubega on part of Plot 50-52 Nakivubo Road without obtaining development approval from the Kampala Capital City Authority. Mr. Drake Lubega is thus instructed to follow the development procedure” she added.