• Fri. Sep 29th, 2023

UGANDA, Sembabule | Real Muloodi News | After a nearly year-long ban on issuing land titles, Sembabule District Local Government has announced the resumption of this crucial administrative process.

The ban, which was imposed in October 2022, aimed to address and rectify issues related to widespread land disputes that were impeding agricultural productivity in the region.

These conflicts were often the result of irregular land allocations orchestrated by unscrupulous area land committees at the sub-county level.

The decision to halt land title issuance followed a comprehensive report from the district production sectorial committee. This report shed light on a disconcerting trend of fraudulent land allocations and unauthorised land use, including encroachment on vital community resources such as valley dams, forest reserves, wetlands, and even the historically significant Bigo bya Mugenyi archaeological site in Ntuusi Sub-county.

In response to these revelations, the district council took swift action to address the situation. With the expiration of the terms of office for the area land committees and the district land board, district councillors deemed it necessary to conduct a special audit of the district land board’s previous activities.

Subsequently, new members were appointed to the district land board, and comprehensive restructuring was undertaken within the area land committees.

Mr Malik Mahaba, the chief administrative officer of Sembabule, shared the positive developments, stating, “We have new members of the district land board, and all have since been sworn in.

So, the ban on the issuance of new land titles has also been lifted, and people are free to apply through the area land committees to get titles.”

To address the root causes of the ongoing land disputes, the district land officer, Mr. Champion Kananura, stressed the importance of implementing a digital land information system at the district level.

Such a system, which is currently operational at the Ministry of Lands zonal offices, would enable efficient verification of land ownership and prevent the inadvertent issuance of multiple land titles for the same piece of land.

Mr. Kananura emphasised the need to educate members of area land committees and the district land board about their roles and responsibilities.

“We have already informed the Ministry of Lands to come and conduct an induction of the district land board and the area land committees because some have already confessed that they don’t know what to do,” he explained.

The land information system, initially established through a Shs232 billion World Bank loan and commissioned in 2017, has played a crucial role in facilitating various land-related processes, including land title searches, freehold land title acquisitions, mailo land transfers, caveat registrations, sub-division of mailo land, and replacement of damaged land titles.

Despite its effectiveness, there is an ongoing effort to extend this system to the district level, although budget constraints are currently limiting its implementation.

Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba acknowledged the need to expand the land information system to local government levels but acknowledged budgetary challenges. In the meantime, she encouraged people to seek assistance from the existing zonal land offices.