Thursday, August 20, 2009



By Pauline Kairu
Daily Monitor
5 July 2009
Jinja, Uganda

Jinja Senior Secondary School is embroiled in a row over the ownership of a building in the school that a group of the returning Indian Community in Jinja claims belongs to them.

The registered trustees of the Sikh Ramgahria, who have also dragged the school to court, claim the building and land that it sits on, is legally theirs and wants the school kicked out. However, the school contends the building was granted to them by former President Milton Obote and that they legally own it.

The building (to which the two contenders claim to hold titles), an A'level block popularly known as the HSC Block, is said to have come into the school's possession in 1969 after it was granted to it by the then President Obote, following a request that it be granted an A'level status together with relevant infrastructure.

According to documents that the Sunday Monitor has seen, the then permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, JMB Lwabi, directed the Ramgahria community to cede the building to Jinja SSS.

At the time, the building had been idle after Ramgahria Primary School closed and Jinja Public Secondary School, an institution that used it after, also moved to another location within the municipality.

The land, sitting on Plots 44-78 on Clive Road West in Jinja Municipality, is also said to have been carved out of land that originally belonged to Jinja SSS.

According to their titles seen by Sunday Monitor, Ramgahria acquired the land in 1962 in a lease lasting 44yrs.

However, the Indians claim the land was wrongly and fraudulently allocated to Jinja SSS by the Uganda Lands Commission.

The community is suing the school for illegal occupation of the block while at the same time seeking a declaration from court that the school's land title is null and void.

The suit comes after attempts by Indians to have the plots title cancelled from the school's land titles by the Registrar of Titles failed.

"The government has taken over the case and the Attorney General's office has attached a lawyer to handle the matter on behalf of the school," the school's principal, Ms Dinah Nyago, said during an interview on Thursday.

They also argue that when it was allotted to Jinja SSS neither were surveys and inspections of land done nor was a notice to interested parties issued.

"President Apollo Milton Obote granted us the block after the then Chairman board of governors, Muljibhai Madhvani asked him to grant us an A-level," she said.

"If anybody claims that the building is theirs, I am ready to go to court and testify that I was present when former president Obote gave it to the school," said the chairman of old students association, George Mutyabule Wanume ,also a student at the time of the said give away.