13 September 2018

Rwanda: Government Resumes Registration of State Land

By June next year, the Government will have successfully recovered all its land property that has been occupied by and registered in the names of private individuals and local leaders, according to Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority (RLMUA).

At the beginning of this month, RLMUA resumed the process of registering state owned land in collaboration with stakeholders at district and sector levels.

This comes after it emerged that some people had turned state land, mainly forests and wetlands, into their own property.

Espérance Mukamana, the Director General of Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority, said efforts have been made to ensure that all Rwandans secure title deeds for their land.

However, she said, government does not have sufficient information necessary to successfully register its land even as it has Unique Parcel Identifier (UPI) numbers.

"During the registration, there were some parts of state land, which we easily got information about and registered it but there is another part which we didn't register because no one was there to give us concrete information about it or because there were new leaders who did not have enough information on the land that belongs to the state," Mukamana told The New Times.

The Government has demarcated over 11 million parcels of land, of which 86 per cent is registered. While more than 8.6 million land titles were printed for distribution, 7.2 million have already been supplied.

This means that 1, 567, 720 parcels or 14 per cent of the total land still lacks complete information from the owners and remains unregistered.

Only 331, 110 parcels of the total registered land belongs to the Government.

The land to be registered involves forests and wetlands, which government had lent to private individuals for decades, who subsequently registered it in their names as private property.

"Lending and offering are different things. We have had a handful of cases like these. What we do is to explain to people and help them understand what the law says about it. Some now understand it," Mukamana said.

Government will work with local leaders and take the activity to communities because some of the people that have information about the land., she said.

Mukamana said they will also rely on the Office of the Ombudsman's report on state owned land.

"In the report, some people admitted to have made mistakes in registering the state land to their names and cooperated to give it back, which will be easy for us to register," she said.

In the event that conflict arises where people claim rightful ownership, the Government will examine the case and address the issue by mutual consent.

"If both parties fail to reach an agreement on the field, we will note them down in the report and leave them to responsible authority for follow up," Mukamana said.

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