Museveni to meet traditional leaders over land evictions

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President Museveni and His Highness the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Mwenda Mutebi during one of their recent meeting; Online Photo

President Museveni is set to meet traditional leaders to discuss the smooth implementation of laws related to land in a bid to mitigate the rampant cases of land evictions happening in Uganda.

While addressing the NRM party conference yesterday at Namboole, President Museveni said the issue of land evictions suffered mostly by Bibanja owners affects implementation of NRM’s development strategy, and therefore must be addressed with urgency.

He said the practice especially happens in Buganda and several other areas where colonialists had introduced the iniquitous mailo land.

Museveni warned traditional leaders against introducing any formula that is at variance with the 1995 constitution, which he said was deliberately drafted to capture the historical compromise between the freedom fighters and their peasant supporters, and other interests on the other hand.

“The 1995 constitution tried to balance the interests of both the landlords and tenants, and recognizes six categories of bibanja owners including who were given land by landlords or their agents, those who acquired land by 1983 or before also known as bonafide occupants, the one who bought from the two categories above, one who inherited, one who first settled on public land, finally the ones who were settled by government” said Museveni.

Museveni said that land that was given back to the leadership of Buganda Kingdom and other traditional leaders must be handled in accordance with the law, and advised traditional leaders not disadvantage the people in any way while dealing with land issues.

He said it is illegal and provocation to the NRM to evict the tenants saying he will meet traditional leaders next month to discuss a definite solution to land evictions. He said all the categories above are lawful tenants and nobody is supposed to evict them as long as they pay nominal rent, which also is not supposed to be commercial.

He advised them to always discuss with government on how they can be empowered on dealing with matters of land especially where the case involves many tenants.

He however said government is pushing for efforts to expand the land fund to compensate the landlords and get out of what he called “a shameful arrangement” and encouraged the aggrieved in land matters to always speak especially if they are lawful tenants.

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