• Mon. May 23rd, 2022

UGANDA, ApacReal Muloodi News | The Government of Uganda recently launched the Customary Land Registries project in Apac District, Greater North.

During the launch, Mr Dennis Obbo, the government spokesperson, emphasised the need to register land because land grabbers target unregistered customary land.

“The land grabbers know that the first thing to do when they grab land is to register it because once you have registered, it is difficult to take it away from them. That is the reason we are giving you this opportunity now when you don’t have [many] land grabbers here,” he said.

Ms Judith Nabakooba, the Minister of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, stated in a speech delivered by Apac Woman Member of Parliament Betty Engola that customary land accounted for 80% of the entire land cover in the nation.

“The customary land certificates are conclusive evidence of the ownership of your customary land, and are used as evidence of title as stipulated in Section 8 (1) & (7) of the Land Act,” the Minister said.

“It is for this reason that we must construct proper storage and secure environments to protect these records, which will be referred to even in times of resolving disputes,” Ms Nabakooba said.

The establishment of customary land registries, most especially in Greater North, was pledged in the National Resistance Movement manifesto. So the government shall continue to implement it by constructing more registries.

Stakeholders have also been cautioned to take this project seriously and prevent shoddy works, which usually leads to misuse of resources without tangible results.

As required by the Land Act, Ms Dorcas Okalany, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, stated that the government hired contractors to construct the first sub-county customary land records.

Construction of additional sub-county land registries to establish office space for recording and area land committees is part of the work scope.

Ms Okalany stated that the technical team estimates the work to be completed in two months to allow for adequate storage of the records in the Ibuje and Chegere sub-counties.

Mr Emmy Ngabirano, the Resident District Commissioner of Apac, said, “We have moved away from the insecurity of the Lord’s Resistance Army, now it is the insecurity of the increasing population and one solution to that is acquiring customary titles.”

The construction of a customary land register is implemented under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda, financed by the government and the European Union.

Registration of land is necessary because Section 59 of the Registration of Titles Act gives indefeasibility of the title to a registered proprietor.

Prioritising land registration is most significant because 79.9 per cent of cases registered in the courts of Apac are land dispute cases. Therefore, it will go a long way in reducing the backlog in the courts of judicature.

Once land has been registered in one’s name, it is difficult to change its proprietorship unless a court order has been made after determining a suit.

Customary land is not an exception to registration because Section 8(1) and (7) of the Land Act provide customary land certificates for conclusive ownership evidence.

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995, is the fundamental legislation on land in Uganda. According to Article 237, land in Uganda belongs to its citizens and is vested under the land tenure systems.

In the Constitution of 1995, customary land was first accorded formal recognition as a landholding system in Uganda with a potentially registrable interest.

Therefore, customary landowners should step up their game, leaving no loophole for land grabbers to register fraudulently acquired land.

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