Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba expressed her concerns in a recent address to Mbarara zonal land authorities about the multiple titling of land, which she believes has aggravated disputes in the greater Ankole sub-region. This issue, according to her, has led to mistrust among the people due to the fear of potential evictions.
The minister spoke to the local community during a meeting at Bukiiro Seed Secondary School in Bukiiro Town Council, Mbarara district on November 4. She pointed out that the practice of issuing multiple land titles had eroded people’s confidence in the government and heightened their worries about being forcibly removed from their properties.
The situation in question revolved around a special land title that had been issued for land that already had existing titles. Minister Nabakooba insisted that this anomaly required immediate correction. She noted, “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.”
Minister Nabakooba went on to issue a stern warning to those involved, cautioning that they could face an investigation by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit. She revealed that the title had been cancelled on October 18 this year, reassuring the affected residents that there was no need to fear eviction anymore.
The disputed land had once belonged to the late Veronica Munyashunju and was home to residents from four villages: Mirambi, Kakondo I, Kakondo II, and Nyakayojo, with around 200 households, including the government-run Bukiiro Seed Secondary School. These residents had been living in fear of potential eviction.
The minister clarified that by the time of Veronica Munyashunju’s passing, she had already given away the land to aggrieved residents, and freehold certificates of titles had been issued. This meant that the land was no longer under her control.
Local residents claimed that the estate administrator, Ms. Jeniffer Kamushoko, had received a special certificate of title for Plot 119, even though the land had already been subdivided, and various freehold certificates of the title had been transferred to different individuals who were currently using the land.
Minister Nabakooba explained that during meetings held on July 11 and August 1, it was revealed that several plots, including 65, 63, 106, 118, 108, 209, and 210, had been erased from the cadaster at the time the special certificate of title for Plot 119 was created. As a solution, she instructed the Mbarara lands registry to restore the deleted plots and declared the special title issued to Kamushoko as irregular.
She directed, “Write to the zonal registrar and have the caveat removed from the land. For those without titles, I ask the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) to collect their documents, and we will forward them to the Attorney General for further action.”
Mbarara District Woman Member of Parliament, Margaret Rwebyambu, expressed concern over the lengthy court proceedings related to land matters, suggesting that it might encourage forgeries. She commended Minister Nabakooba for addressing the issue in her area and called upon the government to ensure that land titles were provided to all residents, safeguarding their land ownership rights and preventing eviction threats.
District Chairperson Mr. Didas Tabaaro placed blame on the land officers for issuing special titles without adequate ground consultations, which had resulted in titles being granted for land already occupied. He disclosed that Mbarara District was planning a special agreement to be used throughout the district, and copies of the agreement would be distributed to all local councils to help resolve land conflicts. Under this new agreement, the village chairperson would be required to stamp the land title before it could be sold, and the LC III chairperson would also need to provide their stamp of approval.