President Yoweri Museveni will on the 15th December, 2018 preside at a function to hand over of 300 Mailo land titles to Bibanja holders who have acquired registrable interests in the land described as Block 260 plot 383 measuring 41.175 hectares and plot 385 measuring 201.6 hectares covering the villages of Kirema, Kibubu and Kitoto in Semuto subcounty, Nakaseke district.
In a letter that was addressed to the public, Betty Amongi Ongom, the Minister of Lands, Housing And Urban Development noted that “They (Occupants In Nakaseke District) will no longer be called tenants by occupancy but Mailo land owners or Registered Proprietors.”
She added that this intervention is one of the key measures to address the historical land injustices that caused multiple land rights on the same piece of land, with a land owner with perpetual interest holding a land title, and a tenant with a kibanja, in possession of the land.
This has been causing evictions and the solution has been to enable tenants acquire registrable interests, as a long term solution to the current illegal evictions.
The genesis of this intervention is embedded in the National Land Policy where Government committed itself to resolve the historical land injustices that have often created multiple rights on the same piece of mailo land.
These actions also have linkages to the National Development Plan, Vision 2040, Program for Modernization of Agriculture and the NRM Election Manifesto among other Government interventions.
“You will recall that Government took a decision in 2002 to implement the Land Fund in Kibaale to address the historical injustices caused by the Colonial Government. Since then, Government has so far released UGX 102.7 billion which has been used to acquire 80,090.68 hectares (200,227 acres) of land in parts of Buganda, Bunyoro, Ankole and Toro regions,” Amongi said.
Other areas where Government is in the process of processing titles for tenants is in Kayunga district, in the subcounties of Kitimbwa and Kayonza. These are pilot interventions in regions which have faced historical injustices in order to lead to long term solutions to evictions.
N a letter that was addressed to the public, the minster stated that “It is through such actions that the lawful and bonafide occupants shall be able to acquire registrable interests in the land they possess as was pledged in the NRM Election Manifesto 2016 – 2021.”
She said this is the first batch of land titles to be handed over in Buganda region. Earlier in 2017 Government performed a similar activity in Bunyoro region were over 350 land titles were handed over to former bibanja holders in Kibaale district.
Government shall be handing over more land titles to lawful and bonafide occupants in Kayunga, Nakasongola, Kagadi and Kakumiro districts.
The demands from absentee Landlords to Government to compensate them for their land are over whelming. Equally the demands from lawful and bonafide occupants to acquire registrable interests in the land they occupy is over whelming.
Amongi said as Government looks for resources to compensate the Landlords, other measures which the Ministry considers vital in handling land evictions have been put in place and these include among others:
Sensitization and public awareness on what the law says on evictions, Enforcement of the legal provisions especially sections 31 and 93 of the Land Act which gives powers to set the Annual Nominal Ground Rent payable by Tenants to Landlords to both the District Land Boards and the Minister.
In compliance, a statutory instrument no 55 of 2011 was issued; Issuance of legal documents to lawful and bonafide occupants on registered land; Together with our Partner GIZ, Government has mapped over 10,000 bibanja in Mityana district (Kakindu and Manyi subcounties), Kassanda district (Myanzi subcounty) and Mubende district (Kiyuni and Bukuya subcounties).
She noted that the Ministry, Local Governments and Partner plan to issue Certificates of Occupancy to all the mapped areas beginning with the pilot subcounty of Myanzi where Landlords have already received busuulu from tenants and consented to issue legal documents to tenants as provided for under section 31of the Land Act;
Strengthening collaboration with Buganda Land Board (BLB) to create awareness on the rights and obligations of tenants of Kabaka’s land and the options they can undertake to be recognized as tenants with legal documents.
Strengthening the Dispute Resolution Desk (DRD) at the Ministry of Lands, Housing & Urban Development to mediate amongst the conflicting parties.
Strengthening cooperation with other land related JLOS institutions involved in mediation and dispute resolution e.g. the Judiciary, office of DPP and other law enforcement institutions.
Strengthening engagement with the Judiciary to ensure a coordinated enforcement of the Practice Directive No. 1 of 2007 by the Chief Justice on visiting the locus before making a judgement.
The Ministry has completed preparation of the National Eviction Guidelines awaiting input from key stakeholders; and strengthening the operations of the Land Fund, which has been used to buy off absent Landlords.