Friday, 4 August 2017

Live radio discussion/debate on Land policy and rights in Uganda

 Land issues have been a big concern in Uganda due to high increase of its demand. Land being an important asset puts everyone on tension to find all means of acquiring a piece of land. The live discussion was held on  30th/July/2017 on ToroDev’s supported weekly program ‘listeners forum’ that is aired every Sunday 8:00-10:00pm on Jubilee FM and the panelists were Mrs. Hope Bagota Tuhairwe a lawyer from Uganda human rights Fort-Portal regional office and Johnstone Baguma Kumaraki executive director ToroDev. The discussion focused on land policy, land rights” and the ongoing land issues in the parliament of Uganda where there are proposed amendments on Land law that seeks to provide a compulsory acquisition of land by government for development purposes.

In 1998 the government of Uganda passed the land act and amended it in 2010 but nothing big has been followed when it comes to land acquisition, sale and wrangles that are going on in the whole country a lot needs to be done with educating citizens on the land act”. Said Mrs. Hope Bagota during the live radio discussion on Jubilee radio. 

Hope added that land ownership is categorized into four systems namely Freehold, Mailo, Customary and Leasehold; these systems explain how land is owned and how it guarantees citizens on the use. As a human rights defender I advice people with land issues to report to authorities like sub county land committee so that the issues can be solved and reported to the district land board.

Uganda as a country need to think critically before amending the land law, according to the Uganda constitution every citizen has a right to property where land is one of them and everyone is free to access it.  The government should amend the law to protect people’s rights on land issues and duty bearer should orient, sensitize and educate people on land issues and the Land act. Said Johnstone Baguma executive director ToroDev

Johnstone added that there are issues on land which need to be scrutinized before any amendment of land bill is passed in parliament and since land is a very sensitive matter, citizens rights should be respected without causing misunderstandings. The constitution is clear that the land owner should be fairly compensated in case government or any other institution wants to use the land for development but what is proposed here is government compulsory acquiring ones land and then compensate later. There is need for the government to consult citizens on land issues something that has not been fully done. This will help the smooth flow of government projects and the national Land board should establish and maintain a reliable and user friendly Land Information which can help in planning on national development projects. Said Johnstone ED ToroDev.

During the two hours more than 40 listeners called in where the majority was men and these are some of the issues they raised “The government and duty bearers have failed to protect people and their properties, they should consider people’s ideas towards amending the land law since they are affected mostly most of the time”. Said Julius a caller from Bugaki Kyenjojo district.
If everyone has a right to property why is it that the government and national land board have failed to first hear the concerns of the citizens but consider their own wishes, we request our members of parliament to work for people they represent and defend them”. Said Mugarra a caller from Kabarole district. “Members of parliament should come on ground and tell people more about land issues before the law is amended”. Said Kaahya John from Kabarole district.

We take this opportunity to thank SIDA, NED, SPIDER, and CIPESA for the financial and technical support.

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