President Yoweri Museveni has revoked the land offer to Makerere University in Nakasongola district following protests from local occupants. The decision to allocate 10 square miles of land to the university dates back to 1989, aiming to support income-generating activities and multifaceted agricultural projects.
Initially, the Ministry of Lands and Surveys identified five square miles at government ranching schemes in Nakasongola and an additional five square miles at the Ssingo ranching scheme, offering this land to Makerere University. However, the university never took possession of the land.
In September 2023, Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, wrote to the Nakasongola Resident District Commissioner, seeking clarification about the President’s directive. In October, upon visiting the land, it was discovered that it was already occupied by local residents.
Professor Nawangwe had previously written to Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataaha Museveni in June, highlighting the delays in acquiring the land and appealing for assistance in obtaining an allocation letter from the Ministry of Agriculture to complete the process.
Residents of Nakasongola wrote to President Museveni on October 27, requesting the cancellation of the land offer and proposing an alternative location for Makerere University. They argued that the university’s project would displace approximately 120 households, along with their cattle and goats, causing significant disruption.
President Museveni, in a letter dated November 27, 2023, ordered Education and Sports Minister Janet Kataha Museveni to leave the land to its occupants and find alternative land for Makerere University outside Nakasongola. He emphasized the historical injustices suffered by the Baruuli people and directed the Prime Minister and Minister of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development to secure alternative land for the university.
Local leaders, including Nakasongola District Chairperson Sam Kigula, welcomed the President’s decision, expressing gratitude for recognizing historical injustices and preventing the eviction of residents who had rightfully acquired land titles through government programs.
Lead petitioner Edward Katuramu thanked President Museveni for addressing their concerns, emphasizing the unfairness of forcing residents to leave land where they had invested and lived for years. Efforts to obtain comments from Professor Nawangwe and the Ministry of Education’s Public Spokesperson, Denis Mugimba, were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.
This marks the second instance where President Museveni has allocated public land in Nakasongola, previously ordering the degazettement of Kyarubanga Forest reserve in 2019 to settle landless households.