Here’s why NSSF Lubowa Estate title cannot be right

As counsel for the executors of the will of Prince Yusufu Ssuna I wish to respond to the statement by the commissioner for land which appeared in your issue of April 19 titled “NSSF right owner of Lubowa estate.”

The term “Lubowa Estate” does not appear in the official records at the department of mapping and survey. The term was used in 1982 on a drawing by a private firm of valuation surveyors of an area known officially as Lweza, Naziba and Nakukuba to plot Block 269 acting on behalf of Uganda Company (holdings) Ltd contrary to the legal requirement that only the government surveyor can carry out such a survey. The drawing was later attached to a special certificate which was issued in 1983 in place of a print signed by the Commissioner for Surveys which the law requires.

Secondly, it is wrong for the commissioner to dismiss microfilm records as irrelevant to the present status of the land. Microfilms are important adjuncts to our system of land administration because they provide the root and history of every title to land.

The mysterious removal of the microfilm camera from the map office, Entebbe, has led to numerous frauds involving mailo land because it is now difficult to prove the origin of claims especially since records of instruments of transactions are also not accessible to the public.

Thirdly, in cases of ownership of land which originate from Final Mailo Certificates the title is established by operation of law. The Registration of Titles Act defines a Final Mailo Certificate as “a certificate by which the title of an African of Uganda to land is finally recognised” and section 7(3) of the same Act provides that “All land included in a every final certificate shall be deemed to have been registered under the Act, and no application to bring such land under the operation of this Act shall be necessary.”
Accordingly, contrary to what the commissioner said, Ssuna has a title to a mailo interest because he was issued with a Final Mailo Certificate No 18570 on June 6, 1906 and his interest is traceable to the 1900 Buganda agreement under which the four brothers of Kabaka Sir Daudi Chwa namely Princes Joseph, Augustine, Ramzan and Yusufu Ssuna were each given eight square miles.
Four of of Ssuna’s eight square were surveyed and recorded on Cadastral “Cartridge” Map Sheets 71121 and 22 and 7131 and 3 at the department of Mapping and Surveys, Entebbe, which reveal the following details:
Place: Bunamwaya, Lweza., Lubowa, Naziba, Nakukuba and Mutungo.
Final Certificate: 18570
Provisional Certificate: 6726
Final Certificate Area: 4 Square Miles
Owner: Yusufu Ssuna Omulangira.
Date: 6th June 1906
In 1903 Ssuna leased 843.6 acres at Nakukuba and Mutungo and 708.8 acres at Lweza, Lubowa and Naziba to Captain Hill and Mr Ormsby respectively under Grant numbers G.8843 and G. 9854.The procedure in which Europeans could take interest in mailo land was provided for under the Crown Lands Ordinance 190 which covered both Crown land and mailo land leased to Europeans. The following sections are pertinent:
10. No lease of Crown land (read mailo land as well) shall exceed ninety nine years.|
14. Except where expressly varied or excepted there shall be implied in every lease under this Ordinance covenants by the lessee (a) not to assign, except by will, the land leased or any part of it without the previous consent of the Commissioner (Governor.)

Under the Registration of Titles Ordinance, 1908, it was provided that “in cases in which the land shall have been surveyed and demarcated by the Government surveyor the land officer would prepare a duplicate in the prescribed forms of (a) all Crown Grants of land both in fee and a for term of years and (b) of all Final Mailo Certificates issued by Government to native owners.”

Accordingly, there should be two types of titles to this land namely one representing the Grants to Capt. Hill and Mr Ormsby and another title to mailo land in the names of Yusufu Ssuna. Indeed SSuna’s mailo interest was registered in Mailo Register 273 Folio 2 but for reasons only known in the land office the description of the land was changed to Mailo Register Volume 82 Folio 1.

The interests in the Grants expired in 2002 on lapse of the ninety nine year terms.

Unfortunately, the land office converted Ssuna’s mailo interest represented in Mailo Register Volume 82 Folio 1 into freehold contrary to the provisions of the law and issued a freehold title deed to Uganda Company (Holdings) Ltd in Freehold Register Volume 82 Folio 1 meaning that Ssuna’s mailo reference was used for a freehold title.

Article 237(b) of the Constitution provides that only customary land tenure or any lease which was granted to a Uganda citizen to be converted into freehold.

The NSSF title cannot be right because it is a freehold title on mailo land. Secondly, it is affected by a wrongfull usurpation of land belonging to an African Ugandan (citizen) to be given to foreigners. Lastly what is unconstitutional cannot be right.

peter.mulira89@gmail.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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