The Uganda Land Commission, a Government body responsible for managing Government land in and outside the country has decried inadequate staffing and low financing rendered to it by the Government.
The Commission’s Chairperson, Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki has said that the body has only 8 staff who are supposed to manage 11,087.748 square miles of land owned by Government.
“We have basically found two main challenges. One is personnel and then the finances. With managing all this big expanse of land, we find that the personnel that we have is very thin on the ground.”
“You have seen the four of us here. There are four more and that’s it, and we are finished. We are supposed to manage land on behalf of Government, we are supposed to monitor, we are supposed to do everything. That is why you see that people encroach, we can’t police it because we are thin on the ground,” she said.
Nyakaisiki also expressed concern over the challenge of logistical support which is very insufficient as well.
“The money that is being disseminated to the Commission does not commensurate with the responsibilities especially when it comes to the issue of compensation.”
The Land Fund she said has not been created and the money that the Commission dispenses out is under support Uganda Land Fund.
“That money you find can’t serve everybody. When we look at the records, we started in the Financial Year 2002 and we are now in 2020 but arrears started basically in 2007. So, from 2007 to date, many people have been brought on board, they haven’t been fully compensated or paid off. Some people are impatient, taking us to the Courts of law. when they take us to the Courts of law, the lawyer is basically won (that is the principal lands officer) who has some legal assistants. We can’t just cope up with everything,” she noted.
It’s been close to 9 months since the old Commission expired and there had not been one until August 1st 2019 when a new Commission was instituted.
The Uganda Land Commission is mandated to hold and manage any Government land.
Today, Government land is approximately 11,087.748 square miles of which some is titled while another is not although where it is not titled, some of it is fenced off and some not.
The Commission also manages protected areas such as wetlands, game reserves among others.
Other Government land include the land where barracks are located, police, schools etc.
Another responsibility of the Commission is to inspect land applied for by the people. This helps the Commission not to give out protected land such as wetlands, game reserves, game parks among others.
The matter of inspection however needs technocrats which Nyakaisiki said are lacking.
“How many technocrats do we have? We have only one surveyor, we don’t have a valuer, we have an acting Principal lands officer,” she added.