By Our Reporters
Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba has strongly warned staff at the Mbarara zonal land offices against the habit of fraudulently issuing multiple land titles of the same piece of land noting that the vice is partly to blame for the rising land wrangles in the greater Ankole sub-region.
Nabakooba was meeting residents during a meeting at Bukiiro Seed Secondary School in Bukiiro Town Council, Mbarara district. The minister said that unprincip0led public ser ants were making Ugandans lose trust in their government because of living under the fear of being illegally evicted from their land.
Nabakooba ‘s intervention follows complaint about a special land title that was issued on land that already had other titles. The minister has now directed that the “special” title be canceled .
“This title was issued in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown but how could you renew land that was already given out more than 80 years ago. You know it already had other land titles and due to your selfish interests you deleted people’s plots from the system,” she said before warning her staff at the Ministry of Lands that will face the State House Anti-Corruption Unit for investigation.
Nabakooba revealed that the title was cancelled after detecting it was not issued under the law.
“We cancelled it on October 18 this year, therefore, you don’t need to panic because no one is going to evict you.” she explained .
The contested land belonged to the late Veronica Munyashunju and it has residents from four villages of Mirambi, Kakondo I, Kakondo II, and Nyakayojo with 200 households including a government school, Bukiiro Seed Secondary School,. All the settlers are now living in fear of being evicted.
He Minister told the residents that by the time Munyashunju died, she had already given out the land to aggrieved residents and also freehold certificates of titles were issued, meaning it was no longer under her control.
Residents say Ms Jeniffer Kamushoko, the administrator of the estate was issued with a special certificate of title for Plot 119 yet it was already sub-divided and various freehold certificates of the title transferred to different persons who are in possession and utilising the land.
The minister explained that both parties convened in a meeting on July 11 and August 1 and it was established that official at the land zonal offices had illegally erased Plots 65, 63, 106,118,108, 209, and 210 from the cadaster at the time of creating Plot 119 “special certificate of title.”
She directed Mbarara lands registry to add back people’s plots which were deleted and noted that the special title that was issued out to Kamushoko was irregular.
“Write to the zonal registrar and he removes a caveat from the land and those without titles, I ask the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) to collect their documents and we take them to the Attorney General to see the way forward,” she directed.
Mbarara District Woman Member of Parliament, Margaret Rwebyambu, decried the prolonged court hearing of land matters and said it might be a plan to look for means of making forgeries.
She lauded the minister for handling the issue in her area and asked the government to get land titles for all her people to ensure full ownership of land to end eviction threats.
Mr Didas Tabaaro, the district chairperson however blamed the conflicts on land on the Lands officers issuing special titles without making thorough consultations from the rersidents.
“Before selling the plot of land, the village chairperson will be required to stamp on it, and take it to the LC III chairperson to stamp on it as well.”
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