Residents of Kasanje sub county in Wakiso District were on Wednesday sensitized on land rights and responsibilities as a way of preventing land grabbing and wrangles in the area.
This was during the Land Awareness Week that is currently ongoing in different areas in Wakiso district under the theme ‘Land rights, a means to economic transformation and social justice’
The one-week event is organized by Buganda Land Board (BLB) in collaboration with Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Action Aid Uganda among other Non-Governmental Organizations that seek to enhance land rights and justice for Ugandans
Nansubuga Sarah, the sensitization, training and market research officer, BLB urged the residents who are ‘Bibanja’ holders to ensure that they live in harmony with their landlords by continuously paying the annual land rates as prescribed by the Land Amendment act 2010
According to the Act, ‘Bibanja holders’ are expected to pay annually Shs 50000 for city land, Shs40000 for municipality land, Shs 30000 for town council, Shs20000 Town Board land and Shs5000 for village land. A land tenant who fails to be the land rate to the landlord for 3 years risks losing the land to the owner
“Before you settle on any Mailo land, ensure that you know the landlord and process a way of paying the land rate to avoid future problems. If you have been complying, the law will be on your side in case the landlord wants to evict you from land. The law allows the ‘Kibanja holder’ the first right and opportunity to buy their land in case the landlord wants to sell” she said
The residents however raised concerns on multiple land owners for the same land, landlords deliberately refusing to receive land rates, illegal evictions among others
Isaac Barigena, the communications officer, Ministry of Lands said that this year’s awareness week was purposely prepared for Wakiso due to the many land challenges that face the district.
He asked residents to avoid using brokers and middle men in buying and selling land and when making land tittles.
“We have offices in almost all areas of Uganda that are open during all working days. Instead of using a broker, we adviser land seekers to come to our offices and seek the right information on the kind of land their buying, clarity on any land title and processing of land titles. That way, we will be able to reduce on the increasing cases of land fraud and grabbing” he said
Jenipher Achaloi, an officer at ActionAid Uganda said the awareness creation is aimed at providing information to especially women who are the most deprived parties when it comes to land grabbing
“Our role is to uplift women’s rights. It is women that use land to produce food and take care of their families. When land is illegally taken away from families, it’s the women that suffer most. We hope this sensitization helps women to know their rights and rights in preservation their land,” she said
During the event, a number of laws from Uganda law society will be on the ground to offer legal help to grieved parties.