A planned automobile project by Kiira Motors on Bajjo Central Forest Reserve land in Galilaaya Sub-County, Kayunga District, hangs in balance after National Forestry Authority (NFA) repossessed the contested land.
Kiira Motors bought two square miles in the reserve in June at an unspecified amount of money from Mr Morgan Isingoma, who claimed to have a title for the land.
However, NFA protested the transaction, describing it as “illegal”.
Mr Isingoma later dragged NFA to Mukono High Court, which issued an order stopping the latter from opening boundaries of the reserve.
Mr Tom Rukundo, the NFA director for natural forests, said the authority has since repossessed the land and tightened its security to prevent tress passing on the land.
“We are still managing Bajjo as a forest reserve and we are not concerned about claims that Kiira Motors bought it,” Mr Rukundo said.
Mr Moses Muhumuza, the NFA legal manager, said they would soon hold public hearings with the Minister of Lands, Ms Judith Nabakooba, and other stakeholders to cancel the land title.
Mr Paul Musasizi, the Kiira Motors executive director, declined to comment on the matter and other officials in the agency.
The Ssabanyala, Maj Baker Kimeze, is also opposed to the sale of the land, saying it is a natural resource for the district and surrounding areas.
However, Mr Amos Lugoloobi, the State Minister for Finance, who lobbied Kiira Motors to put up the project, wondered why the community is opposed to it.
“We need the Kiira Motors automobile project for the development of the district,” Mr Lugoloobi said.
He said the project would attract prospective investors to the district and ensure government tarmacs the Kayunga-Galilaaya Road.
“It seems residents are happy when they see farmers growing maize on the forestland instead of factories which would create jobs to locals,” Mr Lugoloobi, who is also the Ntenjeru North MP, said.
Mr Michael Ojja, the Lwankima sector manager, said the forest reserve is a water-shed for major water bodies such as rivers Nile and Ssezibwa.
“If this reserve was not there, we would always have flooding from River Nile and Lake Kyoga,” he said.