KAMPALA —Lands minister Judith Nabakooba has cautioned landlords on plotting to rip-off the government by selling it land that has no sitting tenants under the Land Fund.
Nabakooba made the remarks in Mityana District while ironing out land wrangles on October 15. She explained that the Land Fund aims at ensuring security of tenure, and through it, the government has been able to give out land titles to different people.
“Government buys land for people to live free. Those selling land to the government should be genuine with clear documentation,” she said, noting that landlords should not use the fund to dupe the government.
The fund is a multi-purpose resource envelope envisaged to serve targeted beneficiaries, including tenants seeking to buy or own land, a government seeking to buy land for redistribution to bonafide occupants or resettlement of the landless, among others.
The minister’s visit to the area was prompted by complaints from residents of Kalungu-Bala, Banda Town Council and Butayunja Town Council, all in Mityana District.
In her first meeting at Kalungu-Banda, the LC1 Chairman explained to her how he was called to the mayor’s office to sign and stamp on a document he did not know.
“I inclined because the people were not involved in the process. Surveyors have come here multiple times and people are living in fear,” he said.
According to the mayor, Mr Seruwagi the letter they received was showing how the landlord had expressed interest to sell his land to the government and wanted surveying to be done.
He explained that there are many people who want to collect obusuulu from people and sought for the Minister’s intervention in solving the phenomenon.
“Government should expedite the process of issuing letters of administration when land owners pass on. This will help resolve ownership wrangles that confuse the tenants.”
The land in contention is in Busujju Block 129 plots 14, 15 & 43 Land at Banda Town Council with roughly 348 acres. The land sits on three mailo land titles with the above plots and they are all registered in the names of Abesiima Leticia.
In her remarks, Nabakooba shared that the issue was not clear since people did not get on ground to decide whatever they came up with.
She told the landlord that if he intends to sell the land, a transparent process where all people concerned are involved in the process should be carried out.
“Open boundaries with the landlord in place. I want a report on this issue in two weeks. Those who bought where they are staying should be given their land titles,”
Nabakooba noticed that part of the land the landlord wants to sell to government has no occupants
“Where we are now is kind of a trading centre. Plots he (the landlord) wants to sell were in a different area, let them sell land that has people on it if they intend to sell to the government. I have also asked him to issue titles to people that have paid to ascertain the legitimacy of the process,” she said.
In her second meeting convened at Butayunja Sub County by the LCV Chairman Mr Livingstone Lwanyaga locals expressed their worries on the surveying process of their bibanja that has been going on for quite some time.
The property in contention here is in Busujju Block 80 plot 40 & 45 land at Butayunja. It is occupied by over 600 households with its titles registered in the names of Lubinga Semindi.
The RDC not only gave Semindi permission to conduct a boundary opening exercise to be able to share the land amongst the beneficiaries but also sensitized the occupants on the exercise.
However, the occupants allege that the beneficiaries instead acted otherwise and partitioned the land against their will, dictating on the portions to give them (occupants) without negotiations hence petitioning the minister.
Mr Semindi, the landlord told the minister that they contracted Julius Muwanguzi to handle their land issues since people wanted to get their land titles hence the need for the surveying.
To her dismay, Nabakooba noticed that Mr Muwanguzi is not a registered surveyor who she said, has no right to conduct business in that line since he lacks even the slightest of credibility to handle the titling process.
“All activities on this land should be stopped with immediate effect as we cross check the records in the titling process. The status quo should be maintained and a commissioner’s caveat should be placed on this land immediately,” Nabakooba said, throwing the crowd in cheer.
She gave the fact finding process two months and warned Mr Muwanguzi on forcefully surveying people’s lands.
“I am not satisfied with what is on ground. Let us scrutinise them again. We have realised that unregistered surveyors were contracted to do the work. Also, the landlord talks of one square mile yet my records show 489 hectares.”