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    OPINION: M7’s Imperative Goal Is Security Of Land Tenure For All – Sam Mayanja…

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    Sam Mayanja

    Since 1900, commoners have had to fight for their land occupancy rights. After dividing the mail, the leaders of the day raised no finger as the colonists declared the rest of the land ‘crown land’.

    By this stroke of the pen, the colonialists became holders of the radical title, and all land users became tenants of the British. As holders of the radical title, the colonialists proceeded to grant a limited number of freehold estates to selected individuals and corporations, and by virtue of political sovereignty, asserted the right to control the management and use of land in Uganda. They however delegated the control of Mailo to the Mailo landlords.

    The Mailo landlords exacted heavy taxes in the form of Busuulu and Envujo on the bibanja holders who in protest threatened to stop growing cash crops. This threat would undermine the production of export crops thereby diminishing the colonial states revenue base. Consequently their grievances were addressed by the passing of the Busulu and Envujo law, 1927. The Law assured them of security of tenure and freed them from the fear of arbitrary eviction.

    Upon independence in 1962, the Mailo system was retained including Busuulu and Envujo Law and all former

    crown lands became public land under the Public Land Act, 1969 enacted to govern its management. The official Mailo being public land had already been placed under the Commission by the 1967 Constitution.

    In 1975, however, Idi Amin issued “the Land Reform Decree” declaring all land public land, vesting the same in the State to be held in trust for the people of Uganda and administered by the Uganda land Commission. The decree abolished the Mailo tenure, the Busuulu and Envijo Law, effectively removing the security of tenure guaranteed by the 1927 Busuulu and Envijo Law.

    When in 1986 the NRM administration took power, it vowed to correct all historical injustices. This was interpreted by the mailo landowners as the return of their rule. They demanded economical instead of nominal rents from bibanja holders, and demanded for the restoration a Buganda Kingdom with political power, chiefs, and land- hence the call for federo, special status.

    This delayed the restoration of security of tenure taken away by the 1975 Land Reform Decree. The situation was aggravated by the Kabaka’s call to the Baganda to stop selling land. Many non-Baganda had bought mailo and bibanja. They saw this as a move against them. This heightened ethnic tensions, which thankfully culminated into a major land reform enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 and the Land Act Cap 227 enacted in 1998.

    The 1995 constitution repealed the 1975 Land Reform Decree, and vested all land to the citizens of Uganda, under four land tenure systems namely customary, leasehold, freehold and mailo. The Land Act Cap 227 operationalizes all constitutional reform relating to land and provides a framework for the management of land under a decentralized system.

    The constitution was the first document ever to recognize customary land holding as a land tenure system in Uganda. It guaranteed the security of land ownership of the majority of Ugandans who hold land under customary tenure. The constitution provided that customary tenants could acquire certificates of customary ownership which they could convert to freehold titles. The Land Act Cap 227 reiterated these provisions.

    Another radical provision of the constitution and the Land Act was the recognition of the rights of tenants, namely, legal and bona fide occupants, on mailo land with security of occupancy. A ‘legal occupant’ is the one who occupied land by virtue of the repealed Busuulu and Envujo Law of 1927 (kibanja holder) or who had entered the land with the consent of the registered proprietor. A ‘bona fide occupant’ on the other hand, is anyone who had occupied and utilized or developed any land unchallenged by the registered owner or agent of the registered owner for twelve years or more.

    Bonafide and lawful occupants may only be evicted from registered land on grounds of non-payment of rent and only by order of court. However, the rent payable is nominal, non-commercial in nature, and is to be determined by the District Land Boards with the approval of the Minister.

    It is important to recognise that there was no public land to be returned to the institution of a traditional or cultural leader as a corporation sole following the vesting of all land in the citizens of Uganda and also conferring ownership on customary tenants on former public land by the 1995 constitution. A cultural leader can however as a corporation Sole like any Ugandan, juridical or natural, can acquire and own land under any four tenancies.

    The cause of current illegal evictions in Uganda therefore, is not the lack of laws protecting bibanja or other untitled occupants. It is therefore within this scheme of things, that one of the core challenges of President Museveni in his fresh term, is to consolidate the security of tenure for all.

    The author, Sam Mayanja, is a prominent lawyer, senior advocate with Kampala Associated Advocates.

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    Ssemujju Forced To Apologise To Minister Muyingo For Calling Him Mrs. Janet Museveni’s Personal Assistant..

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    Minister Muyingo (L) and MP Ssemujju Nganda (R)

    Kira Municipality legislator Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda was this afternoon forced to apologise to the State Minister for Higher Education John Chrysestom Muyingo for calling him Mrs. Janet Museveni’s personal assistant.

    It all started when Ssemujju raised a procedural matter over the continued absence of Mrs. Museveni in plenary sittings even when she is needed to explain to parliament what is going on in her ministry.

    Before completing his submission, NRM’s Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa stormed the floor and informed parliament that Muyingo was on the way to parliament to answer all their questions.

    In response, a furious Ssemujju warned Mrs. Museveni to stop turning Muyingo, a respected Muganda into her personal assistant.

    Before completing his statement, Amongi intervened and told Ssemujju that Mrs. Museveni attends parliamentary sittings via zoom because it was passed by parliament that some members can attend plenary via zoom.

    She further directed Ssemujju to apologize to Minister Muyingo, for calling him a personal assistant to Mrs. Museveni.

    Amongi was supported by Tayebwa who insisted that Ssemujju’s statements should be removed from parliamentary record.

    Ssemujju succumbed to pressure and apologized to Muyingo.

    It should be remembered that when Rebecca Kadaga was still Speaker of parliament, she was summoned to State House for insisting that Mrs. Museveni appears on the floor of parliament to explain what was going on in her ministry.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    Lawyer Challenges M7’s Decision To Appoint Son-In Law, Others As His Senior Advisors….

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    Lawyer Mabirizi (L) and Odrek Rwabwogo (R)

    Controversial city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has run to the High Court Civil division in Kampala to challenge president Yoweri Museveni’s decision to appoint his son-in-law Odrek Rwabwogo and others as senior presidential advisors.

    Early this month President Museveni appointed Dr. John Mitala, Mary Karooro Okurut, Odrek Rwabwogo, Nakiwala Kiyingi, and Adonia Ayebare to new positions of Senior Presidential Advisor on Public Service, Senior Presidential Advisor on Public Relations, Senior Presidential Advisor on Special duties, Senior Presidential Advisor on Gender and Youth Affairs and Special Envoy and Ambassador to the United Nations, respectively.

    In his suit, Mabirizi alleges that the said people were appointed in positions which are not provided for under the laws of Uganda.

    Mabirizi added that the President did not consult the public service commission.

    He challenged that what Museveni did ultra vires the powers of the President of the Republic of Uganda, was illegal and procedurally improper.

    Last week, a source in state house revealed to theGrapevine that president Museveni directed Milly Babalanda, the minister for presidency, to provide a monthly salary like that of a cabinet minister, offices, allowances and other benefits to the newly appointed senior presidential advisors.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    You Will Be Killed If You Don’t Leave Mafias To Steal: Mirundi Warns Prime Minister Nabbanja…

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    Tamale Mirundi (L) and Prime Minister Nabbanja (R)

    President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s senior advisor on media Joseph Tamale Mirundi has predicted that very soon, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja Musafiri is going to be assassinated if she does not stop fighting mafias.

    Appearing on ABS tv, Mirundi pleaded to his boss Museveni to give his PM more SFC commandos because the mafias have started plotting against her.

    “When I predict ten things, eight of them come to pass and I’m telling you my friend Nabbanja is in danger. Mafias have been eating people’s money, but the woman is now exposing them and she wants to dump them back into poverty something they cannot accept,” Mirundi said.

    He added that mafias in government have always benefitted from disasters that hit the country like Covid-19, floods, locusts and hunger but now they are stuck with a Prime Minister who questions everything because she is not part of their cabal.

    Recently, in an interview with theGrapevine, Nabbanja swore that she is going to work hand in hand with the president to fight corruption during her tenure.

    However, Mirundi insists that Nabanja will not be the first person to be assassinated for standing in the mafia’s way. He gave an example of the sudden death of Tanzanian’s president John Pombe Magufuli who died mysteriously because he stepped on so many toes.

    However, Nabbanja said that president Museveni gave her enough security to move with and also protect her at home.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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