Tensions are high in Rubanda District after a Catholic parish and local officials engaged in a stand-off over a disputed playground.

BY ARINDA NSHEKA
The Kabirizi Catholic Parish in Kabale Diocese accuses the Rubanda Town Council Mayor, Norman Tushabe, Gerevazio Begumisa (father of Rubanda District Woman MP Prossy Mbabazi), and Fred Kharata Rwegyemera of encroaching on the 20-acre Nyakatugunda playground.

The dispute came to a head during a “crisis mass” held at the playground under tight security.  Reverend Fathers Prosper Turyahabwe and Zaverio Tindimwebwa led the congregation in accusing the aforementioned individuals of attempting to “parcel the land for themselves.”

This accusation comes just after MP Mbabazi faced scrutiny for alleged corruption.

The parishioners claim the land was given to the church in 1985. They called on police to provide security for “people and their property.”
Following the mass, Rubanda District leadership, including Resident District Commissioner Eric Sewandigi and Jane Mary Tushemerirwe, intervened. They ordered a halt to all activities on the disputed land.
Officials urged the community to maintain peace and avoid violence. They promised to “sit down as a committee and find possible solutions to the problem.” The District Police Commander, Abel Barugahare, echoed these sentiments, advising residents to let the law take its course.

Contacted by phone, Mayor Tushabe denied the church’s claim and expressed surprise over the crisis mass. He maintains the land belongs to the Town Council and expressed willingness to settle the dispute in court. Efforts to reach Rwegyemera and Begumisa for comment were unsuccessful.
As the mass concluded, parishioners planted a cross in the center of the contested land, a symbolic act of defiance.