Agony of Nyerere's son over Sh 4bn plot Saturday, 18 September 2010 09:40 By Bernard James Founding President Mwalimu Julius Nyereres adopted son is fighting the battle of his life. And should he triumph, the 46-year-old man could find himself in possession of one of the most lucrative properties in Dar es Salaams plush Msasani suburb, whose worth is estimated at billions of shillings. Today, Mr Paul Kambarage Babyegeya, who still lives in Mwalimus Msasani residence with widow Maria Nyerere, is laying claim to the plot on which the popular New Msasani Club stands, next to the new United States Embassy. The current market value of the 6,007 square metres of land is nearly Sh4 billion. It is registered as Block F, comprising plots 3, 4, 5 and 6, at Msasani Village. Formerly known as Drive in Cinema, its 250 metres from the New Bagamoyo Road. According to valuers, a square metre plot in this area is worth Sh600,000. But standing between Mr Babyegeyas and his big dream is businessman James Wambura, who is the proprietor of the New Msasani Club. Mr Babyegeya, who was rescued from an orphanage in Bukoba by Mwalimu Nyerere and brought to Dar es Salaam after both his parents died in the Kagera war, is accusing Mr Wambura of colluding with other people to grab the plot from him. But Mr Wambura has refuted the claim, stating that the matter was the subject of a court case that has since been settled. Yesterday, one of Mwalimu Nyereres sons, Mr Makongoro Nyerere, told The Citizen on Saturday by telephone that he was aware that the late President had asked that the land be allocated to Mr Babyegeya. What I know and can tell you for sure is that the said plot was secured on Mwalimus directive to enable Babyegeya earn a living. My father was very fond of him. Mr Makongoro Nyerere said Mr Babyegeya and the man he is now accusing were good friends when the former asked Mwalimu to help him secure the plot. He said he did not know when and why they fell out. I really cant tell if Mwalimu directed that the plot be given to the two of them, Mr Nyerere said. Meeting Mr Babyegeya, he strikes one as a humble, rather ordinary man one would come across in the streets of Dar, but behind the façade is the story of a man Mwalimu Nyerere loved and cared for so much. The former clerk at Government Central Store in Dar es Salaam, who has a disability in his left hand, has renewed his nearly two decade-long struggle to repossess the land that he claims was given to him by President Nyerere in 1989. Mr Babyegeya claims he has received death threats as a result of his persistent attempts to reclaim the plot. Another member of Mwalimu Nyereres family, who asked not be named, said the late President once told off Mr Wambura at their Msasani home over the same land. Contacted by The Citizen on Saturday, Mr Wambura said the matter was settled in court a decade ago when Mr Babyegeya first sued him. Disputing Mr Babyegeyas account about having been given the land by Mwalimu Nyerere, Mr Wambura said: Under the normal procedure, the President cannot allocate plots. If he directed so, then let him show us the documents written by Mwalimu to that effect. According to Mr Wambura, Mr Babyegeya started complaining about the plot before Mwalimu Nyerere died in 1999. The court has already settled this matter. The allegations that man is levelling against me have not a grain of truth, he said. He also refuted claims that Mr Babyegeya was one of the founding members of the New Msasani Club. He has never been a member. The business at the property is run by an association, but I do not wish to reveal who the other members are. Last month, in what Mr Babyegeya described as his renewed push to reclaim what is rightfully mine, he wrote to the minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Mr John Chilligati, seeking his intervention in the saga that has seen him hop from one government office to another for years, in vain. Mr Babyegeya says he has not also found any solace in the courts, where he tried to represent himself, hence the appeal to the minister. In his letter dated August 13, he says Mwalimu Nyerere allocated him the plot so he could start an income-generating venture. The Citizen on Saturday has seen one of the documents the complainant holds as proof of his claim to the land. It is a memo dated August 1992, written by the then minister for Lands, Mr Marcel Komanya, directing the director of Urban Development, a Prof Hayume, to allocate the plot to Mr Babyegeya. Please assist Mr Paul Babyegeya, an adopted child of the retired President. The former President had directed that the Drive in Cinema area be preserved. Now, they (he didnt specify who) have planted trees. What is now needed is demarcation and survey so that they can be granted permission to preserve it, wrote the former minister, who has since died. Mr Babyegeya says Mr Wambura later asked to join him. He then went behind my back to register the New Msasani Club, and has since locked me out of all its activities. I have filed all the documents with the ministry, he told Mr Chilligati. Records in the land registry show that Jamila Maskur, Eliamen Shoo, Omari Chamwana, and Stephen Mwamkoa originally owned the disputed area, but the right of occupancy for the four plots was revoked on April 20 1989, under Section 10 (2) of the Land Ordinance. Unstated public interest was cited. A letter from the Registrar of Titles to The Citizen on Saturday indicates that after the revocation of the right of occupancy, the plots were then allocated to New Msasani Club under certificate number 36696 of June 27, 1990. The registrar, Ms Subira Sinda, confirmed that the certificate of the title in the name of New Msasani Club is currently mortgaged to the CRDB Bank Limited for an unspecified amount of money. The mortgage is registered under filed document No. 86364 of December 28, 1994.