• Fri. Sep 29th, 2023

Report Land Grabbing and Illegal Evictions on this Toll Free Line

UGANDA, Nakasongola | Real Muloodi News | As more and more residents face the possibility of being dispossessed of their property following the pandemic, Hon. Judith Nabakooba, Lands Minister, has called for increased involvement of the police to end illegal evictions.

The residents of Kigejo Village, Kalongo Sub-county, Nakasongola District, met with the Lands Minister to share their grievances.

Robina Nakamya, said she began saving up to buy the land that she was squatting on in 2011. Robina said as she shared her receipts, “I asked myself where would I go if I am evicted… I decided to sell my 8 cows.” 

She claimed that the landowner came back and told her to pay USh 300,000. However, Ms Nakamya recalls, she had already paid the landowner a total of 4 million.

On the other hand, Nakasongola County MP, Noah Mutebi, explains that the landowner had already secured money from the government “to purchase property for bona fide squatters.”

“We have a case of Kigejo land where the government reportedly paid Mr Nicholas Jjemba, the landlord, more than USh 250 million, but the same landlord collected USh 60 million from the same tenants. The tenants are now confused and have never received their respective land titles. The government should have a full compensation plan,” Mr Noah Mutebi said.

Mr Mutebi told Ms Nabakoba that in Nakasongola, where absentee landlords own more than 85 per cent of the land, the government should have a special fund allocated to the ULC for the compensation process.

Similarly, in Mayirikiti Sub-county, 3700 residents also feared that the landowner would sell the property and the residents would face eviction.

Mr Edward Mubiru, the Vice-chairperson for Mayirikiti LC1, explains, “they are scared of being evicted any time. The land hosts over 650 households.”

Mr Mutebi also advises that the government pays the owner so that the squatters can finally obtain land titles.

The tension between landowners and squatters in Nakasongola is not unusual. In fact, in Kiswera village, over 100 households who have lived on Block 173, Plot 18, for more than four decades were threatened with eviction despite the presidential directive to halt all evictions during the recent lockdown. District leaders reported that residents’ gardens had been destroyed and property fenced off, which prompted intervention by the district security committee.

Overall, local leaders are disappointed that the police are not involved. Mr Mutebi said, “we were seeing people defying the presidential directive, and that shows the weakness of the police.”

Hon. Judith Nabakooba told residents in Kigejo district, “The matter will be investigated…and in cases where people are being threatened with eviction, the security has to put a firm stand and make sure that the population is protected.”

In response to reports by the residents facing eviction, the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) began a compensation program for many landlords in Nakasongola in 2019. 

Dan Wandera reports that “several of the landlords that reportedly received half payments from the ULC as part of the compensation plan have reportedly turned against the tenants, while others are demanding fresh negotiations on compensation.”

“I believe that we should now have a compensation plan where the selected landlords are fully compensated to avoid clashes with tenants. It is true that the funds availed to the Land Commission for compensation of the landlords are still small, but payments in bits compromise the system,” she said.

To streamline the compensation process, Hon. Nabakoba shared that the government is planning automation of all land transactions at the Land Registry Offices.

She explains, “one way of minimising multiple titles, including cases of fraud at the Lands Ministry, is ensuring 100 per cent automation to avoid face-to-face interaction of people who partly compromise the system.”

Earlier this month, she launched a toll national call centre and encouraged citizens to use it to report land grabbing and illegal evictions.

“The Toll-Free line is 0 800 100 004.” The Hon. Judith Nabakooba continued, “Ugandans are encouraged to report cases of illegal Land evictions, incidents of corruption and bribery; delayed land transactions, general poor service delivery and absenteeism within the Ministry.”

Call 0 800 100 004 to report cases of illegal Land evictions, incidents of corruption and bribery; delayed land transactions, general poor service delivery and absenteeism within the Lands Ministry.



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