Watoto Church Ministry Associated Team Leader Julius Rwotlony found difficulty in defending the church against accusations of stealing 10,000 acres of land from Kar Bwobo clan in Nwoya district.
Rwotlony was grilled by the Land Commission of Inquiry Lead Counsel Ebert Byenkya about the church’s land in Nwoya district. Rwotlony first denied that the church had any land in the district which forced Byekya to show him maps and documents showing land in Watoto Church’s names.
“Mr. Rwotlony you told us that you are a senior pastor at Watoto church but it seems you are just hiding something from this Commission. These are things you ought to know,” Byenkya told him.
He replied that many times senior pastors don’t handle church business especially concerning property transactions. He said they are handled by other church top managers like the Head of Elders’ Council Pr. Garry Skinner.
Byenkya asked him to tell the Commission who gave the Church’s Lawyers of Candia and Company Advocates to help the clan sub-divide the land and get land title for the 10,000 acres and for whose benefit it was.
He said he did not know forcing Byenkya to ask him to consult his lawyer Henry Nyegenya from Candia and Company Advocates, who had accompanied him to the Commission, to tell him the answer.
“My Lord, you have put me in a tense situation. I have never been is a trying moment like this one but that Nwoya business was handled by the top management of the Church. This top council is headed by Pr. Skinner. He is the one who can testify on this matter properly,” Rwotloney said.
He said based on documents in his custody, they don’t own any land in Nwoya district. Byenkya again warned Rwotlony to stop telling lies and showed him a map from the department of Surveys and Mapping showing that Watoto church owns 10,000 acres of land in Nwoya. Rwotlony then admitted that it is true Skinner instructed the lawyers to get a piece of land in Nwoya to develop the district.
He said they instructed their lawyers to assist the Ker Bwomb clan. He revealed that the church was going to facilitate the entire process from applying for the land title to acquisition.
Byenkya asked him to tell the Commission how much the Church has so far spend on this transaction and he said he doesn’t know how much since he is not working with the accounts department.
Byenkya insisted that Rwotlony tells the Commission what exactly the church is expecting from facilitating this land title acquisition process because a group of people from Ker Bwobo clan led by Silvino Kibota had complained to the Commission that their clan leader Rwot Ojok was conniving with Americans and Watoto church to grab their clan land.
He said Watoto church lawyers advised Rwot Ojok to establish an Association of Ker Bwobo land Truest to manage the clan land on behalf of the entire clan.
Byenkya further informed Rwotlony that the Kibota group thinks that Watoto is targeting their land through a few members of their clan. Rwotlony defended their actions saying they were not aiming at disuniting the Ker Bwobo clan members.
They only wanted to develop the area and when they discovered that there were misunderstandings they decided to leave the land until the Ker Bwobo people resolve their disputes.
Byenkya said the Commission is still investigating this matter and very soon the chairperson, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire will summon Skinner for grilling.
The Commission is handling this matter from her headquarters at the National Record and Archieves Center in Wandegeya – Kampala.