By Judith Nabakooba
I would like to begin by wishing everyone a Happy New Year, 2022.
As a Ministry, we have made considerable progress in 2021 and the New Year provides us with the opportunity to deliver on our mission of making the land sector work for every citizen.
Getting the law work for everyone. Last year we started on the process of cleaning up the law on land ownership. The current law indirectly
‘provided for dual ownership’ of land between registered owners and bonafide bibanja owners. This grey area has been the source of insecurity in many parts of the country leading to loss of lives, property and unending misery. The proposed amendments to the land act will create more peaceful and harmonious communities with the right conditions for every citizen to take part in government’s efforts of wealth creation.
On the side of customary land registration, Government processed customary land certificates for families and communities in the following districts:
In Pader district in the subcounties of Pader, Ogom and Pajule, 1,000 Certificates of Customary Ownership (CCOs) were issued;
In Adjumani district in the subcounties of Cifero, Ofua, Adropi, Pachara and Dzaipi, 4,000 Certificates of Customary Ownership (CCOs) were issued; In Kisoro district in the subcounties of Murora, Nyakabande, Muramba and Nyakinama, 12,000 Certificates of Customary Ownership were issued;
In Kabale district, in the subcounties of Kitumba, Rubaya, Kamuganguzi and Buhara, 1,500 Certificates were issued;
In Butaleja district in the subcounties of Mazzi Masa, Kachonga and Nabweyo, 1,200 Certificates were issued;
In Mbale district in the subcounties of Bukashaka and Bungokho and in the Northern Division of Mbale city, a total of 600 certificates were issued;
and in Namutumba District in the subcounties of Ivukula, Nabweyo, Nangode and Kibale, 602 Certificates were processed and are to be issued soon.
The Ministry carried out mobilization and sensitization for communities in the districts of Agago ( Paimol and Wol subcounties) , Maracha (Kijomoro and Oluvu subcounties) and Apac (Ibuje and Chegere subcounties) on the benefits of customary land registration. So far 1,712 families have submitted applications at the subcounties to register their customary land in those parts of Northern Uganda. Their land has been demarcated and the process to issue them with CCOs is in advanced stages.
I take this opportunity to thank our Partners for the continuous support in ensuring land tenure security on customary land.
Equality and Fairness. Through the Uganda Land Fund, the Ministry is enabling several lawful and bonafide bibanja owners to acquire registered interests. This has been made possible through negotiated settlements with absentee landlords willing to sell off their interests to government. So far 33,036 acres have been acquired securing the rights of occupants on this land from eviction. Through this arrangement, the Ministry puts emphasis on the principle of Equality and Fairness working on a first come, first serve basis for everyone regardless of their political or social
status. Throughout this year, we shall continue to put forward these principles in all that we do. We shall endeavor to be transparent while minimizing any possibility of corruption in our work.
“Putting People at the Centre”. We launched the Ministry of Lands Call centre (0 800 100 004) with the main purpose of enabling everyone throughout the country to access the Ministry. The Call center is doing a good job in tracking key hotspots in land evictions and other complaints giving our staff timely intervention.
Housing & Urban Developing. By securing people’s rights to occupancy, the Ministry is making it possible for everyone to have a place they call home. In 2022, we are continuing with our targeted efforts to ensure that the current housing deficit reduces significantly. Prototypes of affordable and smart housing units have been developed and pushed out. 2022 is going to be a busy year for many of our new cities and urban centers, the Ministry has commissioned several funding programs that will enable these areas undertake structural improvements in a number of key areas.
Better organized Cities and Municipalities. It is everyone’s desire to live and work in well organized cities. Throughout 2022, we going to put effort in pushing for better physical planning. We shall be doing a lot of public education and awareness while also enforcing the existing laws. This way we shall edge closer towards our target of better organized and smart cities.
The National Physical Planning Board. In line with the above efforts of better organized Cities and Urban centers, government has provided funds to support a fully functional physical planning board. The board is already making progress in supporting Local Governments in
ensuring that they address gaps in infrastructure development and population distribution. They have also come up with a detailed guide that will guide the establishment of new fuel stations across the country. These guidelines are before cabinet for approval.
Behind all these commitments and interventions is a team of dedicated and hardworking Ministry Staff; I want to thank you. I salute the support of all our partners that is making it possible to deliver of our commitments to the country.
2022 is giving us a fresh opportunity to deliver on these promises and even do more.
Under the Competitiveness Enterprise Development Programme, (CEDP AF), Customary land owners, who make up 80% of the unregistered land are going to have their land registered and placed in the Land Information System (LIS). The registration shall be at subcounty level in rural areas and Divisions in urban areas.
All land administration institutions including MZOs, subcounty customary land registries, Local Government level Land Managers, the LIS, the Private sector, Investors shall all benefit from the
capacity building programmes and infrastructure development efforts.
Professionals including (Lawyers, Surveyors, Physical Planners, Land Agents and Architect’s among others shall benefit from accessing the LIS.
On 1st March, 2022, the Ministry shall roll out a full automation of its services to cut down on face to face interactions and improved service delivery. The services shall include: online submissions of transaction documents; searching the status of transactions submitted; searching parcels; searching titles; searching for encumbrances (e.g caveats, mortgages and court orders).
There shall also be systematic demarcation of land to issue freehold titles to citizens and full
enhancement of the Survey geodetic network for improved, faster, accurate and consistent surveys.
All these interventions are promised in the NRM Manifesto and must be delivered in the first 2 or 3 years of the manifesto implementation.
I thank you all.
The writer is the Minister in charge Lands, Housing & Urban Development