Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament are demanding for the release of 568 land titles taken from residents of Masaka district by Uganda Electricity and Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) for mutation.
The MPs under the Natural Resources committee who are on a field visit to establish the access of electricity in Western Uganda say that residents of Matanga, Kalagala, Samaria and a large part of Mukungwe in Masaka risk losing their titles.
The residents surrendered their land titles between 2016 and 2018 during the construction of the 137km of a 220 KV transmission line from Kawanda to Masaka meant to relieve the crumbling and the unreliable 132 KV transmission line between Mutundwe sub station and Masaka West Sub station.
In the process of land acquisition, the transmission company collects certificates of titles from project-affected persons for mutation and transfer upon compensation. In this case, where the high voltage lines pass on the land, the land titles of the owners get divided into two due to the line passing in the middle while UETCL demarcates their reserve.
Although the process is supposed to take about six months, it has reportedly taken up to six years with most people yet to get back their land titles.
Michael Kalumba of Kitemba A and B villages in Mukungwe, Masaka who co owns 1 square mile land title with his family members says that many of the people bought land from them, but they cannot become owners of the land because the land title is still being held by UETCL.
“There is corruption involved, one officer from Ministry of lands warned us that unless we pay some money, we may not get our land titles in time since the process is jumbled up,” says Kalumba.
Paul Kalanzi who owns five acres of land in Kitenga Mukungwe says his land title was taken in 2016 and the UETCL team just came back last month to officially demarcate the electricity reserve. He says a number of households are affected and their worry is that there are so many fraudsters and people who might make use of their titles.
The Youth Representative Central Region, Sarah Babirye Kityo said several people are encroaching on land and the residents are getting suspicious.
Florence Namayanja, the Bukoto East MP says that it several years since the titles have been taken, and the people cannot sale their land and cannot mortgage and therefore cannot do business.
Stephen Mukasa Kyeganwa, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer UETCL says that several titles are still being held and the company is trying to conclude the mutation process that has taken long. He says some of the titles are with them and Ministry of Lands. He says the titles are with the different zonal offices handling land issues.
Kyeganwa says they are coming up with a more quicker way instead of mutation. He promised to raise the issue with the company to address it quickly.