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Masaka Leaders Want District Included on Land Fund

On average, the offices of Masaka District and City Resident Commissioners register at least 15 cases of land-related disputes with dozens of people reporting as victims.

Audio 4

Masaka District leaders have asked the government to enroll the district on the list of beneficiaries of the land fund as a solution to the escalating land disputes.

The leaders indicate that their offices are overwhelmed by the escalating land disputes that are rendering communities unsettled as they are being threatened with evictions. 

Ahmed Kateregga, the Masaka City Deputy Resident Commissioner in charge of Kimanya-Kanonera division, wants the government to expand the scope of the Uganda Land Fund to include the areas of Masaka, as an appropriate intervention to defuse the growing hostilities arising from land disputes.

According to Kateregga, the majority of matters they are handling in their offices are related to land disputes, that involve landlords who threaten to evict tenants.

On average, the offices of Masaka District and City Resident Commissioners register at least 15 cases of land-related disputes with dozens of people reporting as victims.

Kateregga explains that faced with such circumstances, they have considered petitioning the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development requesting that the district is added to the list of areas that are eligible to benefit from the government land fund to enable tenants to acquire certificates of ownership on the land they occupy.

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Luganda 

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In 2014, the government through a statutory instrument operationalized a special land fund as a multi-purpose resource envelope meant to benefit targeted communities that include tenants seeking to buy or own land, to support the government buying land for redistribution to bonafide occupants or resettlement of the landless.

Kateregga observes that many landlords in the area would also be willing to give tenants certificates of ownership if at all they are worth compensated for their titles.

According to Kateregga, some traditional landlords are manipulating the local council system to deprive tenants of their land rights which also results in disputes.

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Gordon Mayanja, the Chairperson of Kyesiiga Sub-county says that the issues of land disputes have become a great burden in the area. He says that both the local leaders and affected communities in the area are currently unsettled which even affects their level of productivity.

Ronald Nsereko a resident of Kasaala ward in Nyendo-Mukungwe Division, Masaka City whose family is threatened with eviction, prefers that the government also set standard rates at which tenants can purchase their rights from the landlords.

He argues that land owners have also become highly exploitative to their tenants to the extent of setting very high costs for tenants who wish to buy their rights, and when they fail to raise the money they resort to coercion.  

      

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