11 September 2017

Uganda: Govt to Reverse Illegal Land Evictions, Says Museveni

Photo: The Monitor
President Yoweri Museveni appearing on a radio talk-show

Masaka — President Museveni says all people illegally evicted from their land will have their grievances addressed through the ongoing inquiry by the commission into land matters headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire.

"Those who evict people are doing it unlawfully, and Bamugemereire will help us to handle and reverse all these irregular land evictions," President Museveni said while appearing on Buddu FM radio in Masaka on Sunday evening.

The Constitution, he says, does not allow any person (land lord) to evict tenants unless when they have completely refused to pay busulu, a form of ground rent.

Mr Museveni noted that the land laws including the Land act of 1988 are very clear on the issue and whosoever has been evicting people in such ways has been doing so illegally.

When the moderator, Mr Umar Ssekasamba, asked him about the land fund where government was suggesting to pay off all the landlords and let the 'bibanja' owners completely settle on land and even carry out developmental projects without interference from landlords, the president said that the land fund has and is still on the government's to do list.

"On the land fund issue, we proposed it to solve land problems. This was even asked in Kabale but currently we are still handling many other programmes like constructing the oil pipeline, roads among others which need a lot of money," he said adding "after extracting oil, the land fund issue will be given the first priority."

Although many politicians have been saying that the president's radio talk show programme is interfering with the work of the commission of inquiry into land matters, Mr Museveni highlighted that the two are different.

"Bamugemereire's commission is inquiring and looking for what we don't know, but this issue I'm discussing is known and I have given proof of people hindering government projects," the president noted.

He reassured Ugandans that the NRM government has no hidden agenda of grabbing people's land and warned them against listening to politicians who are moving across the country "spreading falsehood."

"Since the creation of the world, no government has been on the side of the common man like the NRM government. It was the NRM government that gave land ownership to people. This had never happened. Land belonged to the traditional leaders," he added.

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