• New Minister talks tough vows to follow President Museveni’s directives to secure land rights for bibanja holders
  • Bans Bakayungirizi (middle/conmen)  in all land offices across the country
  •  Says forests ,wetlands will be protected from encroachment
  • Government will mobilise resources to build houses for low income earners

By Our Special Correspondents

New, incoming cabinet Minister for Lands ,Housing and Urban Development , Hon. Judith Nabakooba has assumed her role after she received the office instruments from outgoing Minister Hon.Betty Kamya vowing to win back public confidence in the land sector.

At the handover occasion held at the Ministry’s head office on Parliamentary Avenue Kampala- Nakabooka  thanked President Yoweri Museveni for appointing her to head the ministry and vowed to stamp out corruption and implement the recommendations of the land commission .

“Over the years, a lot of studies and commissions have properly documented the problems and solutions to the land issues in our country.  We are therefore not coming in to do more studies or inquiries, we are coming in to ensure that some of the best solutions brought forward over the years are well implemented,” Nabakooba stressed.

She noted that the problem of corruption was frustrating peaceful resolution of land disputes , compensation and ownership of land.   “We know that collusion and participation between different officials in government has enabled a lot of fraud and corruption to happen in the land sector,” the Minister stated adding that she will work together with her colleagues to   “ restore public confidence and trust in the Ministry of Lands by frustrating the actions of the corrupt.” 

“I want a Ministry that works for everyone especially the common person at the grassroots.  We know the challenges that the common people especially the Bibanja owners continue to face with unfair, unjust and illegal evictions. This is a problem we must confront ,” She said.

Nakabooka further revealed that the new political leadership in the ministry  was aware about the problem of land  rights and safety of bibanja owners  who should be helped to secure their land rights by providing them with  leasehold certificates of ownership  through the Land Fund.

“However, this is going to require that the Land Fund is fully supported to operate and serve the purpose for which it was created.”

She promised to fast-track government’s  land  acquisition  policy for national development if Uganda was to achieve  middle-income status.    Nabakooba turned to the land registrars and urged them to embrace technology to ensure that land transaction go-online and all systems are well automated.

Calls for automation of land transactions , bans middle/conmen in land offices across the country

“Online transactions will improve efficiency and reduce corruption that is largely associated with the face-to-face interactions. Majority of the face-to-face movements in land offices through-out the country are by middlemen –“the Kayungilizis.”  I want to inform all my colleagues in land offices throughout the country and the public that these Kayungilizis are banned from accessing our offices henceforth.”

She said she will implement Justice Catherine Bamugemereire’s  Commissions of Inquiry recommendations to protect forests, wetland and lakes; urgent survey of all government land in order to unlock Uganda’s potential for economic development.

The Commission proposed a reduction in the current land tenures to – Mailo, customary, freehold and leasehold.  She said she will table a paper before cabinet streamline land matters in the country .

Nakabakooba further stated that  government was  aware of the special interests by cultural institutions, the church and many others all over the country on matters of land.

“I want to reassure all the different parties that their interests will be taken into consideration at all stages during my term in office.”

The Minister  noted the urgent need to for all the newly created cities to have  proper physical plans and work to address the critical housing gap that exists in most of  the urban centers.

“During my term, we shall endeavor to identify resources and partnerships to build houses for low-income earners and critical government workers.

She warned in the strongest terms private security guards and  people who are   engaged in the wanton activities of land grabbing and  evictions during the lockdown  that the strong arm of the law will be enforced .  She repeated that evictions are allowed during lock down and the Ministry is going to set up toll free lines to help people who are faced with evictions .  Private guards should never be involved in land matters, Nabakooba stated.

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