20 April 2017

Uganda: Subject Sues Kabaka Over Land Titles Again

Kampala — A subject has once again sued the Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi over a directive for the issuance of land titles to all people who have settled on his land.

The Katikkiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga, during a press conference held at Mengo on Tuesday said the Kabaka had directed the Buganda Land Board (BLB) to issue land tittles to legitimise his subjects' tenancy and pacify land disputes in Buganda region.

But in a case filed before the High Court in Kampala yesterday, Mr Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka is seeking for a temporary order stopping the newly launched scheme; 'Kyapa mu ngalo ' (own a tittle), arguing that it is intended to deprive tenants of their land ownership rights.

Mr Kiwanuka who last year sued the Kabaka challenging the compulsory registration of people living on the king's land contends that the scheme is intended to make settlers' leases subject to leave covenants which expose them to the risk of losing their land in case of failure to comply with the strict lease agreements.

The move by one of his subjects citing imminent danger that him (Kiwanuka) and other people living on official mailo land will be deprived of their ownership rights comes hardly a day after the Kabaka's directive.

The campaign launched will see issuance of land titles valid for 49 years but renewable at the expiry of the period.

The campaign is meant to enforce the Kabaka's directive to ensure that every tenant gets a land title at a subsidised price.

But Mr Kiwanuka wants court to stop BLB from implementing the scheme and other activities including holding out as landlord for official mailo land and collection of ground rent from settlers.

Mr Kiwanuka also asked court to stop any imposition of a compulsory registration at a fee and with threatened sanctions against the people living on the official mailo registered in the names of Kabaka, pursuant to the Traditional Rulers' Act as well as the 10 percent charge of the sale value of same land.

"The respondent (Kabaka) is continuing with actions which are intended to be restrained in the main case yet they cause irreparable injury to the applicant and other Buganda people living on land which is the subject matter of the main suit," reads the court documents.

Kiwanuka is also accusing the Kabaka of creating a militia with heavy weight stick and other tools holding men under the name compliance team who go on torturing and violating Buganda people's human rights in the name of the Kabaka.

Pending case

In the pending case, Kiwanuka contends that Kabaka's land, where subjects are living, was returned to the king by the central government and is public land collectively owned by the people of Buganda.

Kiwanuka says the Kabaka is only holding the land in trust for his subjects but is not their landlord or master.

Kiwanuka also challenges the Kabaka's action requiring all his subjects living on the kingdom land to register their plots at a fee.

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