By Goodluck Musinguzi

Before COVID19 Pandemic, Land issues were a hot item that led President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into land Administration & Management whose report would be the basis for reforming Land issues in Uganda.

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire said they carried out a lot of investigations. Getting information, investigating, crosschecking it and traveling all over the country and even went aboard to make sure they get all the facts.

On 16th February 2018 at a meeting held at Kawumu State Lodge, President Museveni received Justice Bamugemereire’s interim report .The commission of Inquiry unmasked many fraudulent land dealings, unlawful land evictions, Rot in Land Commission among others.

Most Ugandans prayed that those implicated should be prosecuted.

On 29th July 2020, The Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has handed over its final report to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni with a number of recommendations.

The recommendations are expected to be implemented in the next five years after this years General Elections.

However, the Presidential Candidates have missed raising the land issues since they started their campaign trail that is coming to an end soon.

They have missed Great opportunity to raise the second biggest issue after COVID19. Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has since returned to the Court of Appeal.

In 2019 she was our personality of the year.

(President Yoweri Museveni should use her much more?)

Most Judges are not public figures but a few have had opportunity to serve in the public domain. One of these Judges in Uganda is Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire.

Like we mentioned before President Yoweri Museveni had liberty to choose any Ugandan to lead land probe Commission. But he chose Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire

In the course of 32 months or two years and eight months, Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has led a land probe commission without money most times. She has run a “powerful” commission in the eyes of the public.

We choose her as our Personality of the Year not because of the power she holds through appointing authority President Museveni but the art and resilience of leading, serving despite the odds.

When companies run out of money they close shop, when government projects run out of money they abandon them. Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has led a tough life leading a commission and “begging” for money from Ministries that she never feared to investigate.

Like a Captain on sea or pilot in the air, driver on the road leading people to safety is their primary task. Once in while media covered how the land probe commission was broke, even when Ministry of Finance released money, it was going to repay debts.

Dr Douglas Singiza, the Land probe commission Secretary once told media how they have been audited many times and found clean with a very penny government has entrusted with them.

Few times we have seen President Yoweri Museveni move in public means depending on situations beyond him. In the early 1990’s his Military helicopter landed in a wetland in Kabale district.

With a few escorts he started walking from Bubare Subcounty on foot towards Kabale’s White Horse Inn where he had engagements in the early morning fog. It took a man delivering milk in town to stop his ram shackled pick up truck to stop and take a man that seemed ordinary yet a head of state. Mr Rurekyera was given a new pegiot truck for being a kind hearted man.

The next time, President Museveni traveled in a taxi up to state lodge Nakasero, refused to leave for his convoy which came to pick him. The moral story behind is how public servants sacrifice for the sake of serving under extreme circumstances.

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire traveled by bus to cover locus as far as Garilaya in Kayunga district and other places. While it looks fine because many of us use buses or taxis, the level of threat determines how we travel.

When Keith Muhakanizi, the Permanent Secretary announced salaries for december 2019, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire and team went home without a penny not only december but have gone without salary for months.

Its incumbent on us to recognize those humble servants that move an extra mile to serve their country.
On 9th January 2020, the Commission will be required to hand over their report to President Yoweri Museveni for further action. The report will expose what went wrong in the century old problem- Land.

Land is an emotional commodity, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire encountered many tears and despair for families that lost homes, means of livelihood, culture and economic prosperity.

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire employed the best investigators of our times, most from Uganda Police, she believed in them, empowered them, made them to know corruption was not entertained.

Lt Col Edith Nakalema must have co opted some if not she should so that they crack the most difficult cases.
Hon Anite Evelyn in her new year message says said HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!?to you all Ugandans. Last year was with some storms and yet together we registered some success against the corrupt.

As we start the NEW YEAR 2020 let’s all join hands and fight corruption out of Uganda.
If we succeed we shall have better service delivery in our country and more employment opportunities for our youth.Happy New Year 2020.

Hon Anite Evelyn ran to the land probe commission after Uganda Free Zone Authority Management paid shs 7 billions for land that is not existent. The Executive Director refused to allow advice from spending government money on hot air. He believed in a quick search at the lands ministry, investigations showed every ordinary person would be dumped.

It was the last case to be handled in public hearings.
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has gone through alot , she is not among those posturing to be serving. Her values are formed by her background of being raised as a God fearing person and culture.

She has faced bullying from government ministers and others who chose to fight her publicly and behind the scenes. Hon Mwesigwa Rukutana was blat in his utterance when he chose to ask the Judge to report her to God or the Pope.

Recent, mini reshuffle by President Museveni shows the Ministers named in land scandals were moved from the dockets and transferred to less influential positions.
Her report could lead to more sacking of government officers as she has uncovered the rot at the lands Ministry.

If President Museveni chooses to deploy her it will be great for she is a humble servant who moves mountains. If not like Chief Justice , Justice Bart Katureebe said last year, the Court of APPEAL will welcome her back home

About Goodluck Musinguzi

Born on 12th March 1979 in Kabale district, South Western Uganda near the Rwanda and Eastern Congo Borders. Started Journalism around 1999, the Kibwetere inferno was a turn around. Entatsi newspaper and Monitor FM were interested in my stories. I covered extensively the Amama Mbabazi-Garuga Musinguzi Parliamentary elections extensively for Monitor Newspaper,Monitor FM, Voice of Kigezi and Entatsi Newspaper. Later I worked with Uganda Radio Network. Newvision gave me opportunity to cover War in Eastern Congo. Did investigation stories. Am now the Chief Executive Officer Kigezi News Agency Limited, we publish for a number of websites in Uganda.

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