UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The government is pursuing compensation funds totalling over USh29 billion to address land issues involving bibanja holders in the kingdoms of Bunyoro-Kitara, Buganda, and Tooro.
Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba revealed that USh15.549 billion is required for Bunyoro-Kitara, USh10 billion for Tooro, and USh4.325 billion for Buganda.
Minister Nabakooba stated that these funds are needed to settle arrears resulting from land occupied by bibanja holders.
Although she did not specify the exact locations of the land in question, valuations were conducted before her appointment to the ministry in June 2021.
“There is land that is occupied by bibanja people and valuations were done before we joined the ministry in June 2021. So, we want to clear those arrears,” Minister Nabakooba said.
The figures totalling USh29.874 billion have already been presented to Parliament in the ministerial policy statement for the financial year 2023/24.
To address the limited availability of funds, the government has been utilising the Land Fund to negotiate with willing landlords.
The Land Fund, administered by the Uganda Land Commission (ULC), enables the government to purchase land for the benefit of its citizens.
This approach has proven beneficial in various areas and has assisted numerous individuals.
Minister Nabakooba also acknowledged the historical distortions in land tenure resulting from colonialism.
Large portions of land were allocated to individuals, now referred to as mailo landowners, where tenants and squatters pay annual ground rent fees known as busuulu.
In an effort to rectify these injustices, the government plans to engage with traditional institutions that possess land occupied by people. This engagement seeks to foster an understanding of the historical challenges created by colonial practices and develop solutions to assist vulnerable tenants.
“We are also going to engage traditional institutions with land that has people to appreciate the historical injustices created by the colonialists to enable us come up with solutions that will help the vulnerable tenants,” Minister Nabakooba said.
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