Bamugemereire Blames Evictions On Inactive Land Laws

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Justice Catherine Bamugemereire says preliminary observations from the hearings in Luwero and Wakiso indicate that there a few issues around landlord-tenant relationships and evictions.
17 Jun 2017 16:53
Dr. Rose Nakayi one of the Commissioners on Land Inquiry

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The Commission of Inquiry into land matters says the evictions taking place in Buganda could be due to failure by the government to implement the land law as part the constitution and the land Act as amended. 

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire  and her Commissioners on Friday briefed journalists about their work over the last one month. She said the Commission has so far received about 1600 land-related complaints mainly from Luwero and Wakiso Districts.

Some of the complaints according to Justice Bamugemereire were registered at the Commission's complaints desk in Kampala.

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire says preliminary observations from the hearings in Luwero and Wakiso indicate that there a few issues around landlord-tenant relationships and evictions.

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Most of the district institutions in Wakisio district have been put up on land that does not belong to the government yet the owners have never been compensated.

One of the Commissioners, Dr.  Rose Nakayi said the biggest problems appears to emanate from the failure by the government to make the laws felt and implemented where they are supposed to be.

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Officials from Uganda Land Commission and the academia have for example said the land fund which was supposed to compensate landlords has hardly been implemented.

The district land boards and tribunals have also not been adequately facilitated to carry out their roles. 

Thee failure to implement the law on the ground according to Dr. Rose Nakayi has created a vacuum within which quite a number of contestations around land especially between tenants and land lords.

Along the same lines, Dr. Nakayi says the commission has found that the institutions that were established by the Land Act and the constitution relating to the lad law are necessarily the institutions that are present on the ground doing what they are supposed to do.  

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Nakayi explains that there is a lot going on in the country regarding the land question  that the commission would wish to address but it can't given the big scope of work . While the Commission has not yet asked for an extension , the Uganda Joint Christian Council Chairperson , Arch Bishop Stanley Ntagali asked that it should be given enough time  to receive and hear complaints.

One of the contentious issues in Buganda relates to the “Ekyapa Mungalo” or the land title in the hands campaign bu Buganda Kingdom's land Board.

The “Land Title in Your Hands”, campaign is aimed at registering all persons on Buganda Kingdom's land.

Occupants or tenants on Buganda land are also being granted mainly 49-year leases. But that has sparked off controversy especially with the Central. The Central government is seemingly opposed to the idea fearing that it may lead to mass evictions.

In a speech at this year's Heroes day celebrations, President Museveni alluded to the Ekyapa Mungalo campaign though he did not directly mention Buganda Kingdom.  He warned that one could not force land titles on Ugandans.

Statements from the President and his Ministers have made some politicians to doubt the likely outcome of Commission of inquiry in land matters. Some have wondered why the Commission has not come out with rebuttals to what the President  and the ministers have said in relation to Buganda land titles. 

But Dr. Nakayi says in as much as the commission is adhoc, it is intended to find permanent solutions to the problems. She says whereas the commission has been silent, it does not mean that it is not working on them.

Nakayi, a land law expert on the probe says they will work on some of the controversial issues behind the scenes while at the same time maintain their neutrality.

The Commission also intends to travel to Apaa in Amuru district which has witnessed several killings and injuries as a result of a  boundary wrangles.  

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