Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The State Minister of Lands Sam Mayanja has cautioned the Zonal Lands Offices against processing land titles for Buganda Land Board saying the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that returned the property to the Kingdom is not yet applicable.
In 2017, Buganda Land Board embarked on the mass tilting of Kingdom land and issue 49-year lease titles to tenants that occupy it. The Buganda Kingdom officials say the move is intended to enable its subjects to regularize their tenancy and avoid eviction.
This followed the return of Kingdom properties by President Yoweri Museveni to Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi on 1st August 2013.
But now Lands Minister Mayanja says that making entries and processing leases on behalf of Buganda Land Board by Ministerial Zonal Offices is illegal and must be stopped.
While speaking to Luwero district leaders at council hall in Luwero town council on Wednesday, Minister Mayanja explained that section D of the Memorandum of Understanding between the President and the Kabaka needed the President to set up a team to implement the terms of the agreement.
He explained the Presidential team was supposed to dialogue with Buganda on land which is under occupation by administrative units as well as people and agree on how to handle them.
Mayanja said that since the team has never been put in place, taking over land and management of any property or income derived is still illegal and those purporting to execute the agreement without a Presidential implementation team must be held accountable.
He added that implementation of the agreement also needed an amendment of the traditional rulers’ restitution Act of 1993 to conform to the Constitution and Properties act which has never been done by Parliament.
Mayanja further said that under Article 231 (1) of the Constitution all land must belong to the people of Uganda, not traditional institutions save for individuals like kings and chiefs who may own private mailo land.
As such, Mayanja said all public land must be administered by Uganda Land Commission and District Land, not a private company registered as Buganda Land Board Limited which he insists is also an illegal entity.
Mayanja directed the Ministerial Zonal Lands Offices to stop processing titles for Buganda Land Board and seek guidance from his office on the matter.
Sam Mulwana the Chairperson of Luwero District Land Boards asked the Minister to guide them on what they should do because people who had acquired leases on land allegedly returned to Buganda and some want to convert into freehold titles.
He added that there is still confusion on which land was returned to Buganda and tasked him to publish a list of estates so that they don’t also lease it illegally.
Elizabeth Namanda the Chief Administrative Officer of Luwero District also asked Minister to clarify on land occupied by administrative units which were returned to Buganda kingdom because their operations are under threats of eviction.
Mayanja said he will write back to the district quoting the related laws on how they should handle the issues brought to his attention.
Since 2013, Buruuli Chiefdom has also been pushing for the appointment of the Presidential team and operationalization of the agreement in vain.
The Buruuli chiefs wanted the government to return properties that were formerly held by Buganda Kingdom including official estates for the Counties and Sub Counties, and properties of chiefs to the chiefdom as well Mengo recognize them as a cultural institution.
Charles Peter Mayiga the Katikkiro of Buganda has repeatedly defended Buganda Land Board as a legal entity and condemned those against leasing of land to subjects describing them as saboteurs.