President Museveni on Sunday awarded medals to five UPDF soldiers who on February 5, embarrassed the head of the Commission of Inquiry into land matters, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire.
The soldiers attached to External Security Organisation (ESO) barred Bamugemereire and her team from accessing the land under contention located at Mutungo Zone IV.
A gun totting Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) soldier, No 095301, Corporal Julius Katuriba, held Bamugemereire and commissioners, Joyce Habasa, Dr Rose Nakayi and Fredrick Ruhindi at gun point and ordered them and other people including journalists to move away from the quarter guard of a residential building he was guarding.
The probe was inspecting the land in contention on Mutungo hill in Luzira. Mutungo, the prime Kampala, hill, is hostage to a number of land wrangles and court cases.
Three families, namely Prince David Kintu Wasajja, Sir Edward Mutesa II’s youngest son, retired Dr Muhammad Kasasa and former ambassador Maurice Kagimu Kiwanuka, son of the late Benedicto Kiwanuka, Uganda’s first chief justice are embroiled in an argument on the ownership of the Mutungo hill land.
The land in question is Block 237 Plot 67, 48, 29 and 59 on Mutungo hill where ESO intends to build its headquarters.
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo on Monday told press at Uganda Media Centre that the five UPDF soldiers guarding a restricted security facility were awarded medals “in commendation of their professional discipline which occasion no unauthorized entry, surrender of weapons or loss of life”.
“And not for obstructing due judicial process. UPDF soldiers decorated “because of the exceptional, courage and professionalism with which these officers conducted themselves,” Opondo added.
Opondo said the occasion required no unauthorised entry, surrender of weapons or loss of life and the soldiers pulled it off well.
“We do acknowledge her [Bamugemereire] role and her work but when we are doing government work, we must follow all procedures to avoid a fracas that happened that day,” Opondo said.
He said because of the meticulous way these officers conducted themselves, the president decided to confer on them meritorious awards.
“They refused to be disarmed by people who are not their commanders.”