A Widow fights for 17 years to recover her inherited property - Justice Centres Uganda

A Widow fights for 17 years to recover her inherited property

This is Alice, an 86 year old woman whose property rights were fought for by JCU Mubende. Alice had 19 acres of land which she got as a gift from her mother (Damalie) in 1982 before she passed away.  Her mother had inherited this land together with her brother and the whole land measured 30 acres out of which Alice’s mother was allotted 19 acres. After the death of her mother, Alice continued to live and utilize the land neighboring her Uncle’s and both stayed there in harmony. Around 1999, Alice’s uncle died and his portion of the land was inherited by his son, Richard who is the Respondent/Defendant in the court case.

Alice being of the Nte Clan, while her Uncle belonged to Mbogo Clan, the heir of her uncle started claiming that the land was ancestral land and it could not belong to any one from Nte Clan. This is a Cultural dynamic, in that Alice’s Mother was also from the Mbogo Clan yet Alice was from the Nte Clan. In the year 2005, Richard evicted Alice from her land, destroyed her crops and demolished her house. She persisted with the help of her son and she was allowed to live in a semi-permanent structure on the side of her land.

Richard meanwhile continued to harvest her coffee and carry out various constructions on her land until Alice sought for assistance from the area sub county committee which held a mediation session and a memorandum of understanding was reached allotting six acres to Alice. The same was signed and executed but Richard declined to heed to its terms shortly after. Alice came to our office and we conducted an office mediation. Since the terms of the previous MoU were breached, JCU filed a Civil Suit in the Chief Magistrate’s Court of Mubende.

Sadly, at the time of filing, Alice became extremely hypertensive and got a stroke, she could not walk, stand or sit anywhere. This affected her in such a way that she failed to testify a couple of times due to cold weather. In her poor health condition, she had to bask in the sun in order to get the ability to speak. She knew the facts but her mouth could not open yet even the witnesses could not testify without her testimony first. Her case was adjourned to the dry season and when she came in Court, she properly gave her satisfactory testimony in Court while lying on the bench.

The Court later gave Judgment in her favor reinstating her on the six acres of her land plus costs of the suit. She had been pursuing justice in this matter both at the Local Council Court level and then at the Chief Magistrate’s Court for a collective period of close to 17 years. She was very grateful for our efforts in the legal battle and she wished JCU success in other endeavors as an Organization.