UGANDA, Mbarara | Real Muloodi News | Over 3000 people living on customary land in Bubaare Sub-county, Mbarara District, have applied for titles under the Systematic Land Management Plan. The applicants submitted their applications over two weeks ago.
Edward Kasagara, the Mbarara Chief Administrative Officer says that the government plan is aimed at ensuring that each person in the Bubaare Sub-county gets a land title.
Kasagara says that people in Mbarara have lived on customary land inherited from their grandparents and ignored the need to acquire land titles.
He adds that the pilot program has proven successful in one sub-county and is set to roll it to other sub-counties.
The Mbarara District Land Board Chairperson, Justus Nuwajuna Kamuhanda, says that 83% of the people in the Mbarara have customary land without proof of legal ownership and that others are not even aware that such land can have documents to prove ownership.
As Mbarara City has attained city status, the areas surrounding it in the district are also going up in value, which is likely to attract land grabbers.
The constitution and Registration of Titles Act also provides that customary land may be converted to freehold land ownership by registration, making it even more of a target.
The Lands office under Mbarara District Local Government offers services such as inspection and verification of land, transfer and mortgages, resolving of land disputes, processing and deed plan and title issuance, which includes certificates of customary ownership.
Kamuhanda adds that the program’s success has also seen the land board raise over USh100 million in local revenue from 10,000 applicants for land titles.
He says it was done in one year compared to the USh10 million they raised in the previous financial year.
Mugambwa, a land law writer, notes that most of the land held under the Public Lands Act of 1969, which had not been delineated as either freehold or leasehold, is held under customary law. He adds that customary tenure is land ownership governed and regulated by customary principles and in the majority of cases sanctioned by customary authorities, such as elders, chiefs, clan elders etc.
Denis Asiimwe, a 65-year-old, is one of the applicants. He says that after the community sensitisation program by district officials, he applied for a title to his 58 acres of well-fenced land.
He also says that he inherited the land from his father and has lived on it peacefully without any wrangles.
Herbert Tushabe, the Director of Amity Realtors, welcomes the Systematic Land Management Plan noting that Ankole has been fortunate because of its culture of communal ownership, which has minimised land wrangles.
A researcher on family land in Mbarara quoted, “Land belongs to the vast family of whom many are dead, few are living, and countless members are still unborn.”
He adds that most causes of family land disputes are land inheritance, boundaries, and the right to oversee or manage the land.
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