By Edwin Muhumuza
Government has asked the parliamentary budget committee to approve a UGX 12 billion supplementary budget for land disputes.
Part of the money will be to pay off businessman Medard Kiconco , the lawful owner of the contested Lusanja land ,and another UGX 3.8 Bn to buy land accommodating the St. Peter’s Church in Ndeeba that was demolished last year.
The committee has also agreed to compensate Buganda Kingdom tenants in Bunyoro who currently occupy the lost counties and others in Ankole region to a tune of UGX 8Bn shillings.
This was revealed by the Minister for Lands, Beti Kamya while appearing before the committee chaired by Kachumbala county MP Patrick Isiagi.
“The biggest problem in the raging land issues especially brutal land evictions is mainly because of people selling titled land to third parties and third parties getting eviction orders from court and evicting bona fide or historical tenants.” Kamya said.
A study by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the Uganda Round Table Foundation in 2019 noted that despite progress made to address land-related legislative issues, the land sector in Uganda faces several challenges that include insecurity of tenure, overlapping and conflicting land rights, and glaring inequity in access to and ownership of land.
In view of that, the government and other stakeholders are proposing to amend the law which will put a higher burden on the purchaser of land to prove that they have done adequate due diligence that the land they intend to buy is encumbrance free.
According to the lands minister, it will no longer be enough to obtain a search report from the system but rather to go to the land, and ensure there are no encumbrances, sit with the family and agree with written minutes and resolutions in a meeting before one can get land transferred to their names.
Concerning the Lusanja land, the government decided to buy the land and keep the people on it and the chief government valuer, valued it at more than UGX 3.8bn as well as the Ndeeba church at more than UGX 3.8 Billion
Additionally, the land money will be paid to the Uganda land fund to be paid to individuals who ceded their land to the government to buy, said Kamya.