This is a story of Judith (pseudonym) who approached JCU Mmengo Centre, seeking legal support in resolving a land matter. Judith had acquired letters of administration to the estate of her late father’s land in 2008. Judith’s father owned a plot of land in Namasuba on which there was a primary school that he owned & managed. Judith alleged that her father had obtained the land from the respondent’s later mother, Namulindwa (not real name) back in the 1980s by way of a gift intervivos.
Upon the passing of Judith’s father and Namulindwa, Namulindwa’s children led by the respondent Albert (not real name), decided to lease out the land to another person claiming that Judith’s father had only been given a lease, which interest had lapsed in 2015. Judith, however, claimed that her father had been given that land as a gift by Namulindwa. The case was taken on by the Assistant Legal Officer who scheduled a detailed interview with Judith in which it was discovered that there was no evidence in writing to prove a gift intervivos had been made to her late father. Instead, the documentation presented by Judith proved that her father had indeed been given a lease on the land. More importantly, the period for leasing out the plot had elapsed as per the agreements she had presented. Therefore, she was advised to embrace mediation to help her & her family members get compensation for the structures and developments on the plot of land.
Mediation at the Centre offices was scheduled and both parties appeared but both agreed to adjourn the mediation to 31st January 2019 to be undertaken at the land in dispute so as to involve other key parties for example the; area Local Council leaders, the person currently using the school (lessee) plus other beneficiaries from each side. On the day of the locus mediation, parties were present plus all beneficiaries and two Local Council members. Judith was happy with the attendance & the JCU Assistant Legal Officer’s presence.
In her own words she stated, “Eeeh lawyer, I never expected you to come this far out and on time. With you around, my claim is sorted. I’m so grateful you made it“. After extensive discussions, the parties finally reached a settlement to compensate Judith and the other beneficiaries. An inspection of the school was done although it had been closed by KCCA at that time because many of its buildings were not up to standard. After the inspection, the parties gathered again to agree on the amount of compensation and the payment schedule.
It was agreed that Albert and his family would compensate Judith and the rest of the beneficiaries with sixteen (16) million shillings, payable in full by April 1st, 2019. All parties were happy with this decision and thanked JCU for their intervention. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed. However, implementation of the terms of the MOU became hard due to information that Judith hadn’t disclosed to the Assistant Legal Officer. It turned out that Judith had filed a case in court against the current occupant of the disputed plot of land.
This made it hard for the respondent to comply with the MoU terms since they were only willing to pay if the case was withdrawn by Judith. The Assistant Legal Officer followed up on the case and had the matter withdrawn from Court. This prompted Albert to start the payment by directly bringing it to JCU offices. This was witnessed by the JCU Assistant Legal Officer up to 19th March 2020 when Judith received the final payment of four (4) million shillings.
JCU Ass. Legal Officer (Right) and client receiving money from respondent