Uganda: Museveni Vows to Fight Land Grabbers

President Museveni has vowed to stop the suffering of bibanja owners in Buganda, Bunyoro, Tooro, and Ankole and asked the affected people to resist illegal evictions by land grabbers, errant land lords and their agents.

In his message issued last week to the National Resistance Movement's (NRM) village campaign team leaders mandated to popularise his candidature and protect his votes, Mr Museveni directed that all persons that are lawfully settled on their land and have proof, should not be touched by the landlords or their agents.

"Nobody should evict anybody that was lawfully settled by the landlord or his agents; bonafide occupant (somebody that was on that land 12 years before the 1995 Constitution; somebody who bought or inherited from the two above); or somebody that is settled on public land customarily- customary land ownership," Mr Museveni directed.

"If anybody evicts you when you are one of these legal owners, that eviction is null and void. It is wrong. If your leaders help you to challenge it, your tormentors will lose and also compensate you."

The President saluted ICT minister Judith Nabakooba for leading the people's resistance against landlords who wanted to evict bonafide occupants from their land.

"I salute the people of Wabinyira Village and Serinya Village for resisting these illegal evictions and I, also salute the Honourable Judith Nabakooba for leading the resistance of the people until I came in and we defended the legitimate interests of the people," Mr Museveni said.

"We should not go on with this tug of war with the land grabbers. Since some of the landlords do not respect the historic compromise of the NRM, which was to restore the legal ownership of the mailo owner and also the non-violability of the tenancy of the kibanja owner as long as he pays the nominal rent, we must resolve this paralysis," he added.

In April last year, while in Nakasongola District, President Museveni accused landlords for triggering land wrangles through illicit evictions and frustrating bibanja holders to pay Busulu holders to tenants.

Mr Museveni has since tasked legislators through the proposed amendment of the Land Act to introduce a separate clause that would allow bibanja owners dotted in the various parts of the country to deposit nominal ground rate (busulu) at the sub-county in a bid to find a permanent solution for illegal evictions.

Door-to-door campaign teams

In the same message, Mr Museveni tipped that 30 NRM village leaders would conduct the door- to- door campaigns as a replacement for the open rallies. The door-to-door campaign strategy was designed to limit the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Mr Museveni, at the village level, the teams have been tasked to focus on boosting Museveni's candidature in three major areas: villages, work places and education institutions.

The Head of State in a document dated October 20 indicated that the team of 30 people is meant to work with the district leadership, which include the NRM village chairpersons, head of the women league, head of the youth league and also leader of the veterans' league.

"Under their leadership, they should record all the persons that are ready to vote for the NRM and also point out those that are still hostile," Mr Museveni said.

The NRM leader also promised funds to facilitate the process. He, however, cautioned that the said funds would not be shared among the taskforce members but be used to facilitate the mobilisation activities. Among things that funds would be spent on include airtime to reach national secretariat for guidance and also report feedback plus purchase of stationery.

Like village leadership, the sub-county committees also were promised Shs300,000 while parish committees and district committee leaders would be given Shs100, 000 and Shs5m, respectively.

Source: The Monitor

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