• Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

UGANDA, Mbale | Real Muloodi News | During the first-ever handover ceremony of customary land titles to the customary landowners in Bungokho and Bukasakya sub-counties, Minister Judith Nabakooba, the Minister of Lands, gave Mbale locals 828 land titles.

Bungokho sub-county received 508 titles, and Bukasakya sub-county received 320 land titles. While at the ceremony, she urged Mbale locals to protect their land from land grabbers.

“Those of you who have received your certificates today, I urge you to keep your certificates well and to guard them jealously. The government, the courts of law, the sub-county and the district now recognise you. However, guard your certificates jealously, protect them, don’t simply expose them and don’t use them for anything. This is your land, and your life,” Minister Judith Nabakooba said.

In a ceremony, Minister Judith Nabakooba hands out customary land titles to 828 families in Mbale, Bungokho & Bukasakya areas.
Minister Judith Nabakooba handing out a customary land title to a landowner. Image source: Twitter/Judith Nabakooba

The Land Act and the Constitution legally allow the Government at Sub County and Division levels to register customary land and issue land certificates to customary landowners countrywide. 80% of Uganda’s land is customary land, but most of it is unregistered.

While handing over the land titles to the beneficiaries, the minister thanked the implementing partners, the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) and UN-Habitat/Global Tools Network Unit (GLTN) for helping Mbale landowners register their land. 

During her speech, Nabakooba said most land cases are about unclear boundaries in the regions she has been to. Through this project, boundaries are well-demarcated, and every landowner knows their boundary.

“Even if they are removed, we can go back into the system and have them reinstated because we capture the GPS coordinates of the land using demarcation technologies. This is the best way to secure your customary land from speculators and fraudulent land dealers,” Nabakooba asserts.

Nabakooba further asked the Mbale locals to put their land to good use. She advised landowners to embrace what Operation Wealth Creation offers to contribute to their land profitability and enhance food security.

“Don’t sell or leave your land exposed to grabbers. We take [a] long [time] to clear our land. Land grabbers who pass around think it is free land for those whose land is not yet surveyed. The IIRR director has assured me the program is continuing,” Nabakooba said.

Ms Pamela Nyamutoka Katooro, the IIRR Country director, said the principal goal of this project is to safeguard the land of smallholder farmers.

“We support land tenure security, specifically in rural areas. Our focus is on supporting customary landowners to get the security of tenure through documentation of their customary rights. Many wrangles have arisen because of lack of documentation,” Pamela said.

Judith Nabakooba
In a ceremony, Minister Judith Nabakooba hands out customary land titles to 828 families in Mbale, Bungokho & Bukasakya areas. Image source: Twitter/Judith Nabakooba

Ms Pamela further said IIRR works with the structures at village levels, like the area land committees and district land boards, to provide customary ownership certificates.

According to Pamela, IIRR builds the capacity of land rights and sensitisation at the community level. Through the various land training using radio stations and many other forums, IIRR ensures people understand their land rights.

“We wanted to make this process very gender-inclusive, and we encouraged several women to become landowners as well. Since this project started four years ago, we have been able to have over 4000 beneficiaries getting their land titles. We are thankful for the support from the Ministry of Lands,” Pamela said.

Ms Elizabeth Wakoli, a beneficiary in Bungokho, said she was hesitant to join the program because she was afraid of land grabbers.

“I am now thrilled after getting my land title because, as a widow, someone may want to grab my land. I feel relieved that I now have the right documentation for my land,” Wakoli commented happily.

The IIRR project coordinator, Mr Christmas Eric Munialo, thanked the sub-county authorities for working with IIRR to ensure the exercise was successful.

“The few challenges, in the beginning, some people thought it was a hoax, and that we wanted to steal their land, but through the sub-county authorities, beneficiaries were able to open up,” Mr Christmas said.


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