Mbarara, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister of Lands Judith Nabakooba has ordered for the immediate opening of land boundaries and investigating of several land tittles of different lands under grievances in Mbarara city.
Nabakooba who was in Mbarara city on Friday made the directive after over 35,000 people led by the Mbarara City North County Member of Parliament Mwine Mpaka, petitioned her ministry for intervention in the land grievances alleging that they were living in fear of being evicted from the lands on which they claim to be bona fide occupants.
The different lands include a piece in two villages in Kakiika and Surveyor in Mbarara city North Division that host 8,500 squatters and the other a mailo land in Bugashe and Katojo wards, Mbrarara City North division that hosts 15,000 residents.
The squatters on the land are currently living in fear of being evicted by the Uganda Land Commission that claims to have the land title.
Karim Abdullah, the chairperson Surveyor cell says they as a community of families, have stayed on the land for over 100 years on a lease basis but the challenge of being evicted started when the government announced that all its land should be given out to bona fide occupants on freehold basis in 2014.
He says since then, they have tried to renew their land titles in vain and have also applied for freehold but in futility.
Okecho Adson, the chairperson of Kakiika cell says since they were told that the land commission has the title to the land, they have applied and paid all due charges but nothing has resulted.
He says since then, they have lived in fear and suffered noting that most of their plans have stalled.
For the lands in Mbarara City North Division, James Katende, the chairperson LC 1 Katojo cell and also one of the affected persons says 78 people and Karutundu Church of Uganda say their land was taken by one Peter Bibagamba who bought a few pieces of plots but obtained a land title for the whole piece of land.
He says they have battled him in both the Magistrate’s and Appellant Courts since 2004 and won the case but the land title in question has not been cancelled.
On the other land also in Bugashe, Zepherine Asiimwe, the chairperson LC 1 Kibona Cell says the 15,000 people have been sitting on a mailo land that was given to them in 1928 by Ankole kingdom but has since been taken by unknown people.
He says these people have been sending threatening messages to evict them.
Nabakooba directed that the opening of the boundaries of all lands and investigating of the titles therein be done within one month noting that through this process, the ministry will be in a position to ascertain the right number of acres of land in question and the number of affected persons.