MBARARA —Uganda Muslim Supreme Council in Mbarara district has requested Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba to assist them secure their land title for the land housing the Muslim headquarters of Western Uganda.
The land in question is on Plot 177 block 2 sheet 86/1/14 measuring 47.8 hectare and was apportioned and allocated in 1928 as Mission Land to Muslims , then referred to as Mohammedan Community by Ankole Kingdom under British colonial administration.
Over time, this land has been subjected to encroachments by individual land grabbers but who due to historical background to the legal historical background of boundaries cannot secure a private title from the lands office.
In a meeting that was convened by lands minister at Nyamitanga Mosque in Mbarara district, Siraj Ntutumo the District General secretary Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Mbarara shared that they were excited that the minister stepped into the issue.
He said the land apparently has tenants on it and they have been there for some time.
“Ever since people took up the land, we don’t have the powers to evict them, it is the government with the authority to advise. We want the government to get us the Kashenyi land title. If it is possible, let it buy land for them and they stay here,” he said.
Ntutumo added that they have a number of developments in waiting to do on this land but it is just the land title that is an obstacle for them. He shared that sometime back, they put up regional offices of Ankole Kigezi Regional Kadhi on the same land among other developments awaiting.
In her remarks, Minister Nabakooba said this is not a big issue as both parties are willing to sit and talk, something she said is the beginning point of appreciating the matter.
She said it is true land was given to them according to the documents she looked at but said there are bona fide and lawful occupants on the Muslim land.
“We cannot resolve the matter now, I am going to send a team in two weeks that is going to come on ground and sit with both sides including their leaders and come up with practical recommendations that can work for them,” she said adding that once they are done with the recommendations, she will take them to H.E the president clearly stating what both parties have agreed for further guidance.
Ms Nabakooba shared that land issues in western Uganda are not that alarming like other places she has been to where people go to the extreme of destroying people’s farms and demolishing homes.
“Here people are just thinking of what may come because they were elevated to a city status and they think what is happening elsewhere will come to their area. On behalf of the government I pledge to expedite this issue. I am sure it will be ironed out because both parties can sit and agree.”
Sheikh Abdullah Muhammad Mukwaya the district Kadhi Mbarara appreciated the minister’s coming to listen to their issue and said it is a sign that something will surely be done.
“We are contented with what the minister has said. She promised to stand with us and the occupants to solve this matter amicably and that is what we are aiming at. We hope the government will intervene with the best solution. We won’t evict occupants of this land because we are civilised people but we want justice to see that we are paid.”