UGANDA, Gomba | Real Muloodi News | Land Minister Judith Nabakooba has issued a stern warning to landlords across the country, emphasising that they must refrain from evicting sitting tenants and accept annual nominal ground rent, commonly known as busuulu.
She urged landlords to comply with the law and failure to adhere to these regulations, as outlined in the Land Amendment Act of 2010, may result in severe consequences, as both the law and the President’s directives are unequivocal on this matter.
Under the Land Amendment Act, tenants who have been paying busuulu have the right to resist eviction. Landlords are required to obtain a court order and provide notification before selling the land.
However, these conditions are often disregarded, leading to numerous instances of tenants being forced off their land without proper legal procedures or fair compensation.
Minister Nabakooba expressed her disapproval of the rejection of busuulu, highlighting that it is a legal requirement. She emphasised the importance of providing alternatives to tenants who are unable to afford full ownership of the land.
Coercion or exploitation of tenants for financial gain is unacceptable and must be avoided. During her address to residents in Nswanjere Village, Mpenja Sub-County, Gomba District, the minister suggested that landlords create busuulu receipt books and set rates under the specific rates established in Gomba.
The land in question, Block 299, comprising Plots 101, 102, 123, 216, and 218, encompasses Kiriri, Nswanjere, Bujege, Kanzira, and Kisubi villages.
It spans approximately 2.5 square miles and is home to over 1,000 residents who rely on the land for farming and habitation.
The title deeds are currently registered in the names of Mr Emma Katto, Mr Patrick Katto, and Mr George Katto, serving as administrators of the estate of the late Thomas Yamule ye Katto.
Allegedly, the administrators entered into a memorandum of understanding with Bruno Nsekanabo through Tusiima Property Consultants Limited to facilitate the titling process, which contributed to the ongoing land dispute.
Minister Nabakooba clarified that the responsibility for setting busuulu rates for sitting tenants lies with the district.
If the district fails to establish these rates, affected individuals can seek assistance from the Ministry of Lands, which can determine the rates based on the land’s value and location.
The minister emphasised the importance of transparency and urged security agencies and government officials to refrain from engaging in corruption when dealing with land matters.
During the meeting, Mr Eddy Majanja from Bujege Village shared his grievances, stating that his plot of land was unlawfully divided into three and his crops were destroyed.
Similarly, Ms Dorothy Nakamanyiro from Kisubi Village recounted how her land was taken from her, and the new owner planted eucalyptus trees, leaving her without a source of sustenance for her grandchildren.
Local leaders also voiced their concerns. Mr Michael Musisi, the chairperson of Kiriri Village, revealed that after the death of Yamule ye Katto in 2018, administrators pressured sitting tenants to legalise their tenancy, threatening to sell the land to wealthier individuals.
Mr Bosco Ssegirinya, the chairperson of Mpenja Sub-County, highlighted the plight of farmers who depend on agriculture but lack the necessary land to practice it effectively.
Land disputes have become a contentious issue in many districts in central Uganda, with wealthy landowners using titles to evict poor tenants from their ancestral lands.
In response, the government proposed land reforms in 2021 to address the problem of land grabbing. These reforms aim to restore fairness and justice in land management and ensure the protection of vulnerable individuals.
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