Uganda: Museveni Orders Landlords to Return Excess 'Obusuulu' to Bibanja Holders

President Museveni has directed landlords charging excessive nominal rent fees (obusuulu) to return the excess to bibanja holders immediately or face arrest.

The President made these remarks at the 35th Heroes' Day celebrations at Mpenja Church of Uganda Primary School playgrounds in Gomba District.

The theme of the event was, "Hail Our Heroes: A Secure Uganda Is Now Reality."

Museveni also ordered landlords to cease illegal evictions of bibanja holders.

"Landlords charging more than the district-agreed busuulu fees must return the excess and stop evicting our people, or they will be arrested," he said.

"You must repay all the money you have taken from these people. The evictions are illegal."

The President highlighted that the issue between landlords and bibanja holders was resolved in the Constituent Assembly and the 1998 Land Act.

"We agreed that a landlord has no power to evict a kibanja person, especially those on the land by 1983. Nominal rent (busuulu) was to be fixed by district land boards. Landlords must adhere to the 1995 agreement," he stated.

In 1995, a new constitution clarified land rights, stating that land in Uganda belonged to its people and reinstated private land ownership.

However, Museveni expressed dismay that landlords ignore the nominal fees and continue to evict bibanja holders.

Gomba District LC5 chairperson, Mr Geoffrey Kiviiri, noted that the approved nominal fee is Shs10,000 per year, but landlords refuse such payments, leading to increased land disputes.

Museveni suggested new policies to safeguard these agreements. "We may need to resolve in the NRM parliamentary caucus to have rent fees kept at the sub-county if landlords refuse them," he directed.

He also asked the Resident District Commissioner of Gomba, Harriet Nakamya, to document those under threat of eviction and resolve the matter with their landlords.

During the event, the Minister for Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba, distributed land titles to 446 people in Kanoni, Gomba, through the government's Land Fund.

President Museveni, also the Commander-in-Chief of the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF), attributed their success during the protracted liberation war (1981-1986) to the correct principles of the National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/M).

"Our success was due to the correct principles of the NRM. Other groups that tried to fight couldn't manage," he said.

He emphasized the importance of patriotism, Pan-Africanism, socio-economic transformation, and democracy. He recalled the handling of traditional religious groups during the liberation struggle, showing them a modern way forward.

Museveni acknowledged Gomba's role in the protracted struggle.

"This was an operational area for UFM and FEDEMO, and a corridor for NRA recruits from the Southwest to Luwero," he said.

The President also called on Ugandans to embrace government programs like the Parish Development Model (PDM) and Emyooga to fight poverty.

"Since 1995, I have been advising you on how to get out of poverty using the four-acre model. Use your land wisely and embrace our programs," he urged.

Museveni directed the new Inspector General of Police, Abbas Byakagaba, to install 18 police officers per sub-county and link villages to telephones to combat crime effectively.

"With communication everywhere, controlling crime is easy," he said.

At the ceremony, 49 individuals were awarded medals for their contributions to the country's socio-economic transformation.

Among the awardees was Sheikh Mohammed Bin Maktoum Bin Jumah Al Maktoum, the Prince of Dubai, who received the Order of the Crested Crane 1st Class Medal.

Earlier, Museveni laid a wreath at a hero's monument to honor freedom fighters who lost their lives during the liberation war (1981-1986).

The Minister for Presidency, Milly Babalanda, commended Museveni for his personal sacrifice and commitment to liberating Uganda.

Minister of State for Luweero Triangle/Rwenzori Region, Alice Kaboyo, hailed the courage of Ugandans who sacrificed their lives for the country's development and called for the continued preaching of peace and unity.

"Uganda has made significant strides towards socio-economic transformation and human development, thanks to the sacrifices of many, including the ultimate price of blood," she said.

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