Abid and Another v Attorney General (Constitutional Petition No. 43 of 2017) [2021] UGCC 27 (1 September 2021)

Case summary

This petition concerned the constitutionality of certain actions of the Commission of Inquiry into Effectiveness of Law, Policies and Processes of Land Acquisition, Land Administration, Land Management and Land Registration in Uganda (“Commission”). 
The first petitioner is the managing director of the second petitioner, a private limited liability company which engages in the business of commercial farming. The second petitioner is the registered proprietor of approximately 10 000 acres of land. 
In December 2016 the Commission was tasked by the President to consider complaints from some families of ex-world war servicemen who claimed that they had a lawful interest in the second petitioner’s land. The Commission gave a directive which, according to the petitioner, encouraged trespassers onto the land who constructed houses thereon. In November 2017, the Commission issued a warrant of arrest for the first petitioner. 
The court found that the acts of the Commission, specifically of exercising judicial power by issuing orders preserving the status quo and issuing a warrant for the arrest of the first petitioner, contravenes Articles 2(2) and 126(1) of the Constitution. It further found that by directing and ordering the arrest of the first petitioner, the Commission violated the petitioner’s right to land, liberty and a fair hearing. It held that all disputes relating to ownership and use or access to land, where such a dispute is not resolved amicably, could only be determined by a Court of law established under Article 129 of the Constitution.

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