MITYANA: As she continues with her field engagements in resolving land conflicts, Minister Judith Nabakooba camped in Mityana which also happens to be her home district to iron out the looming evictions of bibanja holders.
Nabakooba who was in the company of the RDC of Mityana Nixon Kabuye and the area DPC visited three villages of Kitebere, Nkwaale and Saala A Kabule Ward.
At Kitebere, local leaders that were led by Mr John Sekalembe and Nuhu Lutaaya told the minister how the administrator George William Memere the heir of Yozefu Musoke connived with Isaac Wasswa to terrorise them on their bibanja on Block 66 Plot 8, 9, and 7
Wasswa who bought 2 acres from Memere also encroached on bibanja holders land and has since then become a problem to them by destroying their farms, closing roads and sending those who resist the takeover are sent to prison and slapped with charges of malicious damage.
Nabakooba told the people at Kitebere that if someone does not have a title, they cannot claim ownership of the land and all these people are just riding on their naivety to confuse them and grab their land.
She stressed that if the owner of the land died, those who come in his place have to bring letters of administration and they have to update records in their names as administrators but not just impose around and start evicting them.
“I don’t want to hear someone claiming ownership of the land yet they don’t have documents to that effect. You have given us the plot and block of this land, we are going to put a caveat and no one will do anything from this land. Those who have your bibanja that have not yet been encroached on, use them,” she said adding that when they (her ministry) find the rightful owners in their records, they will then advise.
She however expressed her dissatisfaction with some people who she described as lazy that never monitor their land in the area but keep in the city, something she said presents an opportune time for grabbers to act.
The minister later proceeded to Nkwaale where land at Dumba Estate that belonged to the late Albert Charles Ddumba is being contested. The land according to the DPC has three administrators who wanted to open boundaries for each to have their own share of the land.
The DPC shared that together with the local leaders, he halted the exercise and asked the trio to bring the right documentation since one Nantongo was also claiming to have ownership of the said land.
Local leaders that were led by Councillor Josephine Kigongo thanked the minister for always having their bark in matters pertaining to land each time they call on her.
She said people are having sleepless nights on their land which is close to 400 acres as different people are claiming its ownership and threatening to evict bibanja owners.
Kigongo asked the government through the minister to buy the land for them because they do not have the money to pay for the titles yet the land is their only means of survival.
“We also call for the streamlining of the law on busuulu to put an end to this mess. Local leaders, kindly be there for your people and stick your necks out for them to foster development.”
In her remarks, the minister explained that the government tries hard to see that there is harmonious co-existence between landlords and bibanja owners and that is why they are constantly pushing for the president to get them money to buy land for people like them.
“As you know, our needs as the government are quite many and land keeps on appreciating yet we also need to handle other things like roads, hospitals and education among other things. The president is however serious on this matter. When we were campaigning in Buganda, the land question was recurrent everywhere we went,” Nabakooba said.
She pledged her ministry’s commitment to streamline issues relating to land to ensure that tension between landlords and bibanja owners is eased.
Nabakooba concluded her visit at Saala A Kabule Ward. Here, Francis Muwonge a representative of the village members shared with the minister that their land which they are trying to be evicted from has close to 100 homes and 600 people living on it
The land has expired lease that belonged to a foreigner who passed away and was buried on the same land but different people come with titles claiming its ownership.
Nabakooba asked the RDC to put a caveat on the land so as it doesn’t disorganise the fact finding process. She also halted all the activities on the land.
“RDC go to the ministry and get details of this land, if it is public land we shall come back and survey it for all people to be allocated what belongs to them. If it changed, we shall still find out if the due process was followed and if there were any fraudulent tendencies, we shall move to cancel the title,”Nabakooba said.
She was happy that the people in this village reported the matter before it had gotten out of hand and said it is good to report in the beginning if all people were doing it that way, cases of grabbed land would be minimal.