Kampala, Uganda — Joy Kafura Kabatsi, the Animal State Minister wants all private titles issued on government farms cancelled.
The Minister made the comment while appearing before the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters in regards to Njeru Stock Farm in Buikwe district whose land has been encroached on.
She said all the titles issued to private individuals on the farm should be cancelled and government officials behind the elicit transaction dealt with.
Njeru Stock Farm is a project under the National Animal Resource Centre and Data Bank (NAGRIC). It is breeding ground for livestock.
The farm seats on 1,066 acres of land. Government acquired a 99 year lease from the late Ham Mukasa in 1950s for the farm land. After independence in 1962, Njeru Town Council inherited the 99-year lease.
In June 1967, the Town Council subleased the land to Uganda Land Commission (ULC), whose sub lease expires in 2027. The user department was Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). However, Charles Lagu, the Executive Director NAGRIC, says the center has lost 504 acres of land to private developers.
He faults Njeru Town Council for leasing away the land. According to Kabatsi, the Ministry has plans to revive the farm, breed more livestock and export livestock products. She however says this is not possible because of the encroachment and conflicts that continue to exist on the land.
However, the State Prosecutor, Charity Nabasa who appeared before the Commission advised that private developers be left to continue developing the land on which they possess tittles.
There is conflict over the land with private developers claiming ownership and possession of lease tittles. Steven Kulaya, one of the claimants has since sued government over the same land.
Kulaya is a Senior Assistant Accounting officer Njeru Town Council. The Commission is suspicious as to how Uganda Land Commission issued lease tittles on government land.
Apart from the fact that most of the developers are public servants, she notes that the manner in which the land was acquired is also questionable.
She says that some claimants say they acquired the Land from Ham Mukasa. They support their claim with a will purportedly signed by Ham Mukasa allocating them several acres of land.
Government farms are at the brink of extinction because of encroachment. The others are Mbarara, Saka, Aswa and Mazuri Stock Farms.