Canceling Dubious Land Titles in Mpigi

canceling dubious land titles in mpigi
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State Minister Orders Cancellation

In a significant development for the residents of Mpigi District, the State Minister for Lands, Dr. Sam Mayanja, has issued a directive to cancel all land titles on public land in the district. These titles had allegedly been fraudulently leased to individual investors, sparking outrage among local communities. The Minister’s decision comes in response to pleas from squatters living on government land in Mpigi, who accused the district land board of leasing their land to private individuals despite their long-standing efforts to secure land titles.

Community Outcry Leads to Minister’s Intervention

On November 3, 2023, a community meeting at Nabusanke playground in Kayabwe Town Council provided an opportunity for local residents and leaders to voice their concerns. Community members, led by their representatives, implored Minister Mayanja to investigate the alleged fraud in the land title leasing process. They cited instances where public land, upon which their offices and stores stood, was leased to private individuals without their knowledge.

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One such case was presented by Paul Kibirigge, a leader in the Kayabwe Ogutateganya Sacco, which has been based in Kayabwe Town Council since 1959. After their lease expired in 2017, the cooperative sought a renewal through the district land board. However, the lease was granted to a private investor without their consent, jeopardizing their long-established operations.

Challenges Faced by the Community

John Mawanda, a village leader, shared his experiences of being arrested, detained, and even taken to court when he attempted to support community members threatened with eviction. In one instance, his intervention in protecting squatters and their crops from eviction on land in Kituntu Sub-County led to his arrest and subsequent legal battles on charges of criminal trespass.

Mawanda highlighted the intimidation faced by the community, with some individuals resorting to armed confrontations to deter residents from asserting their rights. He called for justice and an end to the ongoing harassment.

Minister Mayanja’s Directive

Responding to the grievances of the community, Dr. Sam Mayanja swiftly took action. He ordered the immediate cancellation of all land titles fraudulently leased on government land that harbored squatters. The Minister initiated a process to cancel land titles held by private individuals and directed that land titles be granted to tenants who had occupied the land before.

In addition to these measures, Mayanja issued a stern warning to security agencies, cautioning them against cooperating with landlords seeking to evict people or destroy their crops. He emphasized that such actions could result in job losses and legal prosecution. The Deputy Resident District Commissioner of Mpigi, Hassan Kasibante, was tasked with preventing further destruction of people’s gardens in the district.

Mayanja also prohibited any further land surveying activities unless requested by the bibanja owners and granted permission by the district security committee. He stressed the superior ownership rights of kibanja owners and instructed the RDC not to authorize land surveys without the owner’s consent.

Seeking Permanent Solutions

Teddy Nambooze, the Mpigi District Woman MP, expressed concerns about the prevalence of evictions and land disputes in the district. She urged the Minister to explore permanent solutions to these challenges. Nambooze proposed potential amendments to land ownership laws that would grant kibanja owners more secure land rights.

Nambooze emphasized that the Constitution did not explicitly address the distribution of land ownership between tenants and landlords, and suggested that amendments might be necessary to ensure the security of bibanja owners.

Importance of Proper Documentation

Aisha Nakirijja, the district vice chairperson, emphasized the significance of proper land documentation in mitigating land disputes. She pointed out that many disputes stemmed from a lack of accurate documentation, such as land acreage and measurements. Nakirijja encouraged community members to obtain comprehensive documentation of their land to prevent future conflicts.

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