WITNESS RADIO MILESTONES
Nakaseke bibanja holders get over 300 mailo titles
Joy. A section of the beneficiaries of the 300 mailo land titles dance after receiving their respective titles at Kirema Primary School in Nakaseke District on Saturday.
NAKASEKE. President Museveni has handed more than 300 mailo land titles to 300 bibanja holders from the villages of Kirema, Kabubu and Kitoto in Semuto Sub-county in Nakaseke District.
At the handover of the tittles, the President said the intervention offers partial solution to the longstanding land challenges affecting many Ugandans.
The mailo land titles were processed by the Ministry of Lands under the land fund programme for the 600 acre land secured from Namunkekera Industries by the Uganda Land Commission to have all the bibanja holders registered although the available resource allocation can only allow a phased implementation of the project.
“The stubborn and reckless landlords have continued to undermine the land act guidelines leading to the many land related problems in the country. It is not that we cannot handle the unruly landlords but we have devised means of settling some of our people using the land fund. I discovered that many of my former bush war fighters in this area ‘Semuto’ had been made landless by landlords.
The available funds are not enough to roll out the land fund to all affected areas but this is a good start for our people,” Mr Museveni said on Saturday.
The President said the rushed court orders to have bibanja holders evicted emanate from the many tricks the landlords use. He warned that they already talked to the Chief Justice regarding the court orders. Mr Museveni said he encourages all the bibanja holders to form associations and fight back the stubborn and reckless landlords.
“To the RDCs, police commanders and local government authorities, the evictions are not allowed. You will lose your respective jobs when I get to know about any unlawful eviction of people from their respective bibanja,” Mr Museveni directed.
Lands minister Betty Amongi earlier told the President that the land restlessness in many parts of the country was a big challenge and her ministry has visited many of the affected areas where courts of law have made decisions without visiting the locals to establish and asses the conditions.
“The Courts sometimes rely on false information from the landlords to issue the court orders without visiting the locals. We also have a big problem where the landlords are forcing the bibanja holders to share the land and end up taking away the biggest part of the land. Some landlords decide to hideaway from tenants to dodge the Busulu fee which is supposed to be paid by the tenants,” Ms Amongi told the President.
“Government under the Ministry of Land has now fixed the Busulu where rural areas including district local governments are under instruction not to exceed Shs5000 for Busulu while the urban areas at the level of Municipalities must not charge above Shs30, 000. The city areas must not charge above Shs50, 000,” Ms Amongi added.
This is the first time that government is issuing out the private mailo land titles to a large number of residents. About 20,000 land titles should have been processed by now but the process has been slowed down by the ongoing land inquiry commission where many of the files are still being held pending investigations.
“The Ministry of Finance released Shs13b under the land fund programme to have the titles processed but we are currently stuck with the large number of cases still under investigations by the land inquiry commission,” State Minister for Lands Persis Namuganza told Daily Monitor in an interview.
Ms Edissa Nakazi (71), a resident of Kabubu Village in Semuto Sub-county, said owning a land title at her age was a life dream which finally came to fulfillment on Saturday.
Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.
Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF THE DPC KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT FOR AIDING AND ABETTING LAND GRABBING IN NYAMUTENDE KITWARA PARISH KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT AND CARRYING OUT ILLEGAL ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF INNOCENT RESIDENTS/ BIBANJA OWNERS FOR PROTESTING AGAINST THE ILLEGAL EVICTION FROM THEIR LAND.
We act for and behalf of the Lawful and bonafide occupants of Land described as LRV MAS 2 FOLIO 8 BLOCK 8 PLOT 22 (FORMERLY KNOWN AS RANCH 22).
Our Clients are residents of Nyamutende Village, Kitwara Parish in Kiryandongo District where they have lived for more than 30 years and sometime in 2017, they applied for a lease of the said Land to Kiryandongo District Land Board through the Directorate of Land Matters State House.
As they were still awaiting their Application to be processed, they were shocked to establish that the said land had been instead leased to and registered in the names of Isingoma Julius, Mwesige Simon, John Musokota William, Tumusiime Gerald, Wabwire Messener Gabriel, Ocema Richard and Wilson Shikhama, some of whom were not known to the Complainants. A copy of the Search is attached hereto
Our clients protested the above action and appealed to relevant offices, but were shocked to discover that the above persons had gone ahead and sold the same to a one Maseruka Robert.
Aggrieved by these actions, the Complainants appealed to the RDC who advised them to institute proceedings against the said persons, and assigned them a one Mbabazi Samuel to assist them to that effect. The said Mbabazi accordingly filed Civil Suit Noa 46 of 2019 against tne said registered proprietors at Masindi High Court challenging the illegal and fraudulent registration, sale and transfer of the subject land to Maseruka Robert.
While awaiting the progress of the case mentioned hereinabove, the Complainants were surprised to find that the said Mbabazi, instead of assisting them, he went into a consent settling the said suit on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. A copy of the Consent is attached hereto.
Among the terms of the said consent Judgment was that the residents would be compensated without specifying how much and would in return vacate the Land.
As if that was not enough, Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel are going ahead to execute the said Consent Judgment by forcefully evicting the occupants without compensation which has prompted the complainants to challenge the said Consent by applying for its review and setting aside at Masindi High Court which is coming up for hearing on the 29th March 2023. A copy of the Application is attached hereto.
Sensing the imminent threat of eviction, we also filed an application for interim stay of execution of the said consent to avoid rendering their application for review nugatory but unfortunately the same could not be heard on the date it was fixed for hearing (6th February 2023). A copy of the Application is attached hereto
On Thursday last week, three tractors being operated by 6 workers of a one Mbabazi Samuel [the very person who had been entrusted to represent our Clients to secure their Land through Civil Suit No.46 of 2019] encroached close to 50 acres of our Clients’ land and started ploughing it but our Client’s protested and chased them away.
We have however been shocked to receive information from our Clients that on Sunday at Mid night, 3 police patrols invaded the community in the night and arrested community members; Mulenje Jack, Steven Kagyenji, Mulekwa David, Ntambala Geoffrey, Tumukunde Isaac 15 years, Kanunu Innocent, Mukombozi Frank, Kuzara, Rwamunyankole Enock, and took them to Kiryandongo Police Station where they are currently detained.
We strongly protest the illegal arrests and detention of our Clients as this is a carefully orchestrated land grabbing scheme by Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel who are receiving support from the DPC Kiryandongo.
The purpose of this Letter therefore is to request your good office to investigate the misconduct, abuse of office and unprofessionalism of the said DPC Kiryandongo District and all his involvement in the land grabbing schemes on land formerly known as Ranch 22.
Looking forward to your urgent intervention,
C.C The Head Police Land Protection Unit Police Head Quarters Naguru
CC The RDC Kiryandongo District
CC The Chairman LCVKityadongo District
CC The Regional Police CommanderAlbertine Region
WITNESS RADIO MILESTONES
The Executive Director of Witness Radio Uganda talks about the role played by Witness Radio in protecting communities affected by large-scale agribusinesses in Kiryandongo district in an interview with the ILC.
WITNESS RADIO MILESTONES
Witness Radio Uganda wins the best CSO land rights defenders award at the National Land Forum Awards.
By Witness Radio Team
Uganda’s leading land and environmental rights watchdog, Witness Radio has been awarded the best CSO land rights defender award 2022 in the recently concluded National Land Forum Awards held last week at Mestil hotel in Kampala.
Witness Radio’s executive Director, Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala attributed the award to the community land and environmental rights defenders who stand up against the intimidation and different forms of harassment from land grabbers (economically powerful and politically connected companies and individual investors).
“This is an award for defenders at a community level. They work in very deadly environments filled with harassment, torture, death threats, arrest, trumped-up charges, and kidnaps among others to advocate for community land and environment rights. This is happening at a spate where criminalization and silencing of community land rights defenders are at increase.” Jeff added.
The award has come at a time when hundreds of Ugandans in different parts of the country are accessing services provided by the organization ranging from legal service provisions, non-judicial mechanism engagements, empowerment to help them understand their rights, and using the same knowledge to use the same skills to push back against illegal and forced evictions
The chairman of the organizing committee of the second National Land Forum, Mr. Jimmy Ochom noted some progress on legislation in Uganda’s land Governance. He cited growing inequalities on land where the poor are more vulnerable.
During awards, the state minister for housing, Hon persis Namuganza revealed that the government approved the plan for 2018-2040 that maps the land use in the country.
According to the minister, the government had identified land for settlement, game reserves, wildlife, arable land for farming, and water bodies among others in the plan which she said was passed a few weeks ago.
The event was organized by Oxfam and partners and provided a platform for discussions by the different actors in the land sector on issues around land governance, including land rights, land administration, and land governance for improved collaboration, cooperation between the actors, and improved land service delivery for Ugandans under a theme “Taking stock of the National Land Policy in addressing Land inequality in addressing Land inequality in Uganda.”
Other categories of awards that were won by different organizations and individuals including Mr. Eddie Nsamba-Gayiiya for his contribution to research on land rights, Justice Centers Uganda for Promoting Access to Land Justice, and Mr. Henry Harrison Irumba for Championing Legal Reforms among others.
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