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Govt Urged To Operationalise Land Fund :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Govt Urged To Operationalise Land Fund

Patrick Rubongoya, a member of Isaazi LyAbantu Bakuru Ba Tooro, an elders forum in Tooro, says the matter has been further complicated by the decision by government to return the land titles to kingdoms like Buganda and Tooro. He says the traditional institutions are discovering that the land being returned is just in form of land titles but not in physical form.

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The failure by the government to provide money for the Land Fund could lead to more tension between the landlords and tenants in Buganda, Tooro and Bunyoro kingdoms, the Commission of Inquiry into land matters has heard.

  

Patrick Rubongoya, a member of Isaazi Ly'Abantu Bakuru Ba Tooro, an elders' forum in Tooro, says the matter has been further complicated by the decision by government to return the land titles to kingdoms like Buganda and Tooro. He says the traditional institutions are discovering that the land being returned is just in form of land titles but not in physical form.  

 

//Cue In: "And I know….

Cue Out: …. of the land."//

  

The 1995 constitution recognises and protects lawful or bonafide occupants of mailo, freehold and leasehold land.

 

The Commission of Inquiry into land matters heard from several witnesses that while the law recognises bonafide occupants the land titles of the land they occupy are still held by the registered owners.

 

It was hoped that the Land Fund would be used to compensate land lords so that those settled on their land would acquire titles. The government has, however, not compensated the registered owners yet those settled on their land were declared bonafide occupants.

  

The government recently returned over 300 land titles to Buganda Kingdom. But like in Tooro, where the kingdom is also pushing for the return of its assets, most of the land returned to Buganda is occupied by individuals claiming to be bonafide occupants.

 

Buganda Land Board is currently running the "Kyapa mungalo" campaign aimed at registering occupants on kingdom land.

  

Rubongoya says attempts by the registered owners to reclaim the rights through evictions have created tension. He says there would be no tension if government had operationalised the Land Fund provided for under the 1998 Land Act. Section 41 of the Act creates the Land Fund which is supposed to be a multipurpose resource envelop by government to enable tenants seeking to buy or own land.

 

Uganda Land Commission Chairperson, Baguma Isoke, last week told the Justice Catherine Bamugemiriere Commission of Inquiry that land fund has not been operationalised. He said the Ministry of Finance has not provided money for the fund to operate. 

 

Uganda has had several land reforms like the Land Reform Decree 1975 which declared all land in Uganda to be public land, abolished Mailo and Freehold estates, and converted the estates to leases of 99 years.

 

The Land Fund intended to address historical injustices and colonial legacies which resulted into multiple rights and interests over the same piece of land and dispossession and loss of ancestral land by some communities.

  

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire is the Chair of the Commission which seeks to look into the law, processes and procedures by which land is administered and registered in Uganda, the role and effectiveness of the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) in administering public land and land fund, the management of wetlands and forest reserves, and the role of traditional, cultural and religious institutions who own large tracts of land with occupants among others.

  

Other members include Mary Odupa Ochan, Dr Robert Sebunya, Joyce Habasa, Dr Rose Nakayi, Hon Fred Ruhindi, George Bagonza Tinkamanyire, Olive Kazzarwe Mukwaya, Ebert Byenkya Dr Douglas Singiza and John Bosco Rujagaata.

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