Legislators in the Ugandan Parliament have established a Forum within parliament that will focus only on matters of Land Management in the country.
The first of its kind in parliament, the Uganda Parliamentarians Land Management Forum (UPLMF) has a membership of 100 MPs and is a voluntary and bi-partisan platform for legislators to pursue advocacy and legislative initiatives on Land management in Uganda.
According to the Forum chairperson Hon. Christine Nakimwero Kaaya, the forum’s major objectives are to increase and sustain Parliamentary participation in advocacy, to reposition parliamentary roles for fulfilment of equitable land rights, and to ensure enactment of inclusive, resilient and gender senstive laws, policies and budgets in Uganda.
Nakimwero says, parliament, being the primary law-making entity with oversight and resource allocation mandate in Uganda, makes it important to lead the resolutions aimed at ensuring harmonized land management in the country. The Forum observes that land is a major concern in Uganda and is of the utmost importance for economic development.
Busujju County MP Hon Kalwanga David Lukyamuzi, a member of the forum said, the land issue is so pertinent to development in the country but also observed that the forum will go a long way to link parliament with the vulnerable locals in rural constituencies who have always been victims of rampant land grabbing and evictions.
The forum members say the establishment of the forum is timely especially with contentious propsals to pave way for compulsory land acquisition by government, but also with the country’s development agenda is skwed towards industralization which has attracted huge investiment on land. The MPs pledged to utilize the forum to also influence budgeting for Land-related policies and programs including the Land fund to ensure timely and equitable service in compensations for land.
The members also intend to develop a central registry at parliament to complile land-related issues lodged by fellow MPs from their respective constituencies, which information will facilitate focused debate and follow up on land matters affecting Ugandans.
Asked why a new forum is being established yet parliament has Committees with simillar objectives like the Natural Resources Parliamentary Committee and the Parliamentary Committee on Physical Infrastructure, the forum leaders stated that the said committees have a huge scope of work and give less attention to land matters.
In excecution of its mandate, the UPLMF intends to partner with other stakeholders in the land sector including the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Uganda Land Commission, the National Land Information Center, cultural instititions and several NGO’s including Landnet Uganda, FIDA Uganda, the Uganda Land Owners Association, among others.