Buganda Explains Mandatory Land Registration

 

Buganda Land Board recently launched a campaign aimed at registering all Title-holders on Kabaka’s land in a bid to regularize their tenancy.  Buganda Land Board Head of Legal Ndawula Barnabas in this interview explains the motives of the campaign. 

Please tell us what the campaign is all about the wetuukire campaign you launched recently.

Wetuukire’ is a campaign that is calling upon all persons currently in possession of land titles on Kabaka’s land, which were formerly issued by Uganda Land Commission and District Land Boards to regularize their tenancy with Buganda Land Board. The campaign is scheduled to start on March 1st and will end on April 30th 2016. 

What do you exactly mean by Kabaka’s land and what areas does it cover?

Kabaka’s land refers to all that land vested in the Kabaka of Buganda by virtue of his office and held in custody for the people of Buganda. Kabaka’s land includes:

  • The Kings official estate ‘Olusuku lwa Ssabasajja’ measuring 350 square miles covering the counties of Kyadondo, Busiiro, Kyagwe, including such areas as Munyonyo and Makindye and Buziga.
  • It also covers all land that was managed and controlled by the Buganda Land Board as a creature of the 1962 constitution of Uganda, which entails urban and peri-urban areas of municipalities and towns in Buganda kingdom
  • It also includes the Sazza and Gomboloola estates measuring 8 square miles and 49 acres respectively found in all districts of Buganda covering some parts of Mukono, Wakiso and Kampala and different areas within rural/up country districts in Buganda region. 

How is it that persons were able to obtain titles on Kabaka’s land in the first place?Individuals did get hold of titles on Kabaka’s land especially lease titles by way of interests created by Uganda Land Commission and the District Land Boards. 

Wasn’t the issuance of such titles by Uganda Land Commission and District Land Boards legally binding?

In light of the prevailing circumstances at the time, one may say that technically it was legal because it was state sanctioned. The Central Government under the Obote-I Republican constitution of 1967 confiscated Buganda Kingdom assets, of which land was the largest.

The 1967 constitution also created the Uganda Land Commission which was given the mandate to manage all public land, of which the confiscated Buganda Kingdom land was among.

This was further escalated by the 1975 Land Decree which declared all land to be public land and vested the same in the State to be held in trust for the people of Uganda and to be administered by the Uganda Land Commission. Further still, in 1998 District Land Boards were created and given further mandate to manage land within their respective districts. 

If the titles were legal then, what is the rationale behindBuganda Land Board’s regularization of tenancy on the same land now?

Buganda Land Board is regularizing tenancy on the land becausethe land was officially handed back to Kabaka’s Government. In 1993, the Government of Uganda through the Traditional Rulers Restitution of Assets and Properties Act Cap 247 entered various legally binding agreements with Buganda Kingdom culminating into a memorandum of understanding between themselves in 2013 under which various land titles and properties were officially returned to the Kabaka. 

Are there any repercussions that can affect tenants who haven’t had their titles validated by BLB?

Yes,it is vital for title holders to have their titles validated because Buganda Land Board is now the controlling authority of the land. As the authority, Buganda Land Board needs to know the tenants currently residing on the land. Once BLB has the knowledge of the tenancy and has authenticated the tenancy, the title holder will enjoy security of tenure guaranteed by BLB.

In addition, financial institutions and Commercial Banks are now accepting only those land titles on Kabaka’s land that have been validated by Buganda Land Board. Furthermore, all transactions to include the sale, exchange or donation of land with titles on Kabaka’s land are now rendered invalid by law, if not consented to by Buganda Land Board. 

Does this mean that Buganda Land Board wants to evict tenants off Kabaka’s land through the Wetuukire campaign?

‘Wetuukire’ campaign is an initiative by Buganda Land Board to ensure that all tenants on Kabaka’s land enjoy peaceful and economically sustainable use of the land they occupy. Buganda Land Board is therefore not chasing anyone off Kabaka’s land.

We are simply acting within our mandate and calling upon all tenants on Kabaka’s land that received land titles issued by Uganda Land Commission and District Land Boards to come  and regularize their land titles with Buganda Kingdom, this is both free hold and Lease titles.

In brief, are you saying that one cannot buy /sell or mortgage this land in a legally binding manner unless and until the same has been validated by BLB?

The simple answer to that is YES! It is therefore entirely to the benefit of the title holder to heed to our call to have their land title regularized at this point to avoid inconveniences in the future. All those that don’t comply will handled within the existing law.

 

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