Senior Mukono District Lands Officer Arrested Over Land Title Disputes – The Ankole Times

Senior Mukono District Lands Officer Arrested Over Land Title Disputes

Thursday, October 12, 2023
PHOTO - Mukono Lands Office
Ibrahim Jjunju
3 Min Read

On Wednesday evening, Mr. Robert Mbaziira, the Senior Land Management Officer for Mukono District, was apprehended by Mukono Police Division. He was taken into custody at the behest of Lands State Minister, Sam Mayanja. The arrest is in connection with allegations of double titling of land within the Mukono District.

Minister Mayanja has cited Mr. Mbaziira’s alleged involvement in land disputes related to double titling as a significant factor contributing to conflicts in the land management system. These disputes have led to confrontations within the community, resulting in injuries and even loss of life among competing claimants.

Expressing his concerns, Minister Mayanja stated, “I have heard enough about him, arrest him now to record a statement. I hear he is very rich and untouchable. I want the Resident District Commissioner and the Chief Administrative Officer to embark on the interdiction process and cancel his working contract.”

This development follows the temporary closure of Mukono Zonal offices in August, initiated by Minister Mayanja due to concerns over transparency and trust. During this period, Doreen Tumushabe, the principal assistant secretary, stepped aside to facilitate investigations into deceit, malpractices, and harm to individuals.

Tumushabe resumed her duties a week later after it became apparent that many of the irregularities were linked to Mr. Mbaziira, especially as several responsibilities at the district land office had been transferred to the ministerial zonal office.

Minister Mayanja alleges that the district land officer failed to ensure compliance with national policies, strategies, programs, and guidelines concerning land, housing, and urban development within the district. It is suggested that his actions favored the wealthy at the expense of those less fortunate. Initially, the police hesitated to act on the minister’s order, treating it as a jest. However, public pressure and residents’ demands led to the arrest of Mr. Mbaziira.

Subsequently, Minister Mayanja instructed the Commissioner of Lands to invalidate newly issued land titles that overlapped with existing ones and to investigate and apprehend all land officers involved in issuing these conflicting titles.

Many Mukono residents believe that land disputes can be more effectively resolved if compliance officers in various offices reject corrupt practices. Several citizens, including 81-year-old Cotilda Nabuuso, reported eviction from their homes due to land grabbers, who were allegedly protected by individuals in police uniforms.

Bishop Enos Kagodo of the Diocese of Mukono pointed out that land grabbers often exploit the ruling party’s affiliation, the National Resistance Movement, and intimidate landowners. These individuals may falsely claim to have connections with the State House.

Ms. Phiona Barungi, the Senior Presidential Assistant for Special Duties, advised Mukono residents to verify the credentials of individuals or groups claiming affiliation with the State House with the authorities.

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Rumor has it that Jjunju was born with a pencil in his hand and a headline in his heart. From an early age, he displayed a peculiar fascination with headlines, often turning everyday events into front-page sensations. His first words? Not "mama" or "dada," but "breaking news."
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