By: Ismael Kasooha
The government of Uganda has given out 4,454 free Mailo land titles to vulnerable families and institutions in Bunyangabu district in the Rwenzori sub region.
Over 4,000 families and 50 institutions received the land titles from the government.
Those who benefited were Lawful and Bonafide Occupants from Bunyangabu District in the Rwenzori sub region who have been living on their own land as squatters.
The beneficiaries graduated from being occupants on mailo land, formerly comprised in Bunyangabu Block 44, Plot 20 measuring 3,155 acres, to now registered landowners.
This land originally belonged to the private estate of Patrick David Mathew Kaboyo, who was the Omukama of Toro and later to Queen Mother Best Kemigisa, the Administrator of the Estate of the late Kaboyo.
The Government paid Kemigisa and transferred the land to Uganda Land Commission (ULC) on February 19, 2009.
Presiding over the handover ceremony at Kibiito playgrounds in Bunyangabu District, the Prime Minister of Uganda said that the NRM Manifesto promised to protect land owners countrywide by issuing them with a Government documents as part of reassuring them that no one can take their land away from them.
“I want to specifically congratulate all those families which have received Mailo land titles. It is very important to address the issue of multiple rights on land because that is the beginning of fighting poverty, food insecurity, and addressing issues that will lead to sustainable development, improved land management and security of tenure in both the rural and urban areas,” said Nabbanja.
Nabbanja said that the programme under the Land Fund goes hand in hand with PDM and should motivate the beneficiaries to use their land productively especially since they have fertile soils and adequate rainfall.
“The ‘Kibalo’ here should be to grow improved and fast maturing cash crops so as to join the cash economy as promised by the NRM Government in the NDP III. I would like to caution Government officials over mishandling PDM funds, because we are now freeing land from disputes due to multiple rights. We now expect them to be facilitated using PDM funds to get out of subsistence livelihood,” said Nabbanja.
She noted that the programme under the Land Fund would continue until all land conflicts in the country are addressed.
Nabbanja challenged those that received titles to desist from land fragmentation.
“There should be no land fragmentation as guided by H.E the President. You should only share what comes out of the land but not subdividing the land,” emphasized Nabbanja.
She said that the NRM Government would continue to provide all the necessary support and resources into the Land Fund as promised in the NRM Manifesto.
The Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Judith Nabakooba in her remarks said that the exercise was a key NRM election manifesto programme which would help sort out land disputes arising from multiple interests on the one piece of land.
Nabakooba said that the NRM government had brought in the PDM and under its first pillar, which talks about production, storage, value addition and marketing, the new landlords were expected to use their land to fight poverty through commercial agriculture since it was free of disputes.
Nabakooba explained that for the entire Toro sub-region, the Government, through the Land Fund, had acquired a total of 30,370 acres equivalent to 48 square miles.
“In total, the Government has used the Land Fund to acquire 334,458 acres equivalent to 523 square miles of land across the entire country as part of government strategy to stop illegal land evictions,” Nabakooba said.