President Yoweri Museveni has today handed over 213 land tittles of the properties of the Buganda kingdom describing the process of identifying and returning the properties as a highly “contentious” one.
“This issue was contentious because in the 1995 constitution and 1993 traditional leaders act, we returned cultural institutions which were cultural, not administrative, not political. And the reason was because when a cultural institution mixes with politics that is sine qua non known with its death,” he said using the example of the longest surviving kingdom in Japan were emperors did not involve themselves in controversies.
“When we restored the culture institutions we made it clear that we do not want our cultural institutions to involve in partisan politics and also in administration. The contentious issue was sub counties, Counties and even Bulange which were originally administrative centers for Buganda government,” he said.
Speaking at the ceremony that took place at Entebbe State House this morning, the President cautioned his guests who turned up to witness this historical event to always sing the East African anthem alongside the Uganda and Buganda Anthem.
“Remember to sing the East African anthem, we have to exploit this market. We shouldn’t only be baganda or Ugandans but Africans. This is where our future lies,” he said.
The President said he was against the lawyer’s argument that these were not cultural but administrative properties and that because he is always looking for ways of a win – win situation, he said the properties will help the kingdom develop.
“These institutionsroperties have been with central government since 1966 therefore the central government can give them to anybody. And in order to support the kingdom, we can give them to the kingdom to use them for development purposes that is how I solved that issue. You can create new administrative units like LC5 etc,” he said.
The President said that what was paramount for him in the MOU which he signed with his Highness Kabaka Mutebi were the interests of the population.
“I did not want the population to suffer in any way. In the old Buganda agreements, the positions of chiefs also had land but it was not where administrative units were built but where they got income. I had no problem returning without conditions, land in urban centres and towns because my reasoning was that in towns there are the elite and enlightened people who can sort out their issues with Mengo by themselves,” he said.
The President however emphasized that land occupied by lawful or bona fide occupants would not be returned to avoid creating problems involving big populations because of these transfer of properties.
“Where land is occupied by many people who don’t qualify as lawful or bona fide occupants, the government and the Kabaka shall negotiate and amicably agree on the manner of handling the occupants such as government compensating the Kabaka, rather than creating a social crisis. We don’t want a social crisis when we are still struggling with industrialization. All these should be put in the context of Uganda as a whole and society the way it is,” he said.
The President pointed out that respecting the cultural norms of other related ethnical communities located in Buganda such as Banyala and Baruli was important and that they should be left on the land were former administrative units were located as was amicably agreed.
Because we agreed on this that is why the Kabaka was able to visit Kayunga without problems. This issue was solved. I want to commend Mengo because in recent times, I have been hearing positive statements from there. I would like to encourage them to continue in that line. The challenge which our people have are mainly poverty because people don’t know what to do, we have land and wealth but don’t know what to do with it. I would appreciate it if the kingdoms can help us with that,” he said.
The Attorney General Peter Nyombi said they have so far verified 213 titles and others are still being verified including properties of Bunyoro and Toro Kingdoms.
“This is a historical moment because after 40 years, you are correcting a mistake that was done in the 60s. This is a big achievement. You restored traditional and cultural leaders and now you are returning properties to them,” he said.
The Buganda government 1st deputy Katiikiro Ambassador Sendaula Emmanuel who led the Buganda delegation commended the positive gesture by the central government of returning the kingdom properties in accordance with the MOU signed between the President Yoweri Museveni and the Kabaka of Buganda and noted that the Kabaka and the Kingdom administration are looking forward to closer cooperation with the central government.
Source : The Independent