Enabling tenants to buy off landlords
Posted by African Press International on March 12, 2008
Kampala (Uganda) – President Yoweri Museveni and the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown have agreed to create a special land fund that would enable Ugandan tenants to buy out landlords.
“The Uganda government and that of United Kingdom will establish a joint inter-governmental committee to work our modalities for the setting up of the land fund,” State House said in a statement yesterday.
This arrangement curiously comes at a time when the government is pushing for an expeditious enactment of the 2007 Land Amendment Bill, which among other things gives priority to tenants to acquire land they are settled on.
Already a cross section of the Ugandan community led by the Buganda kingdom officials are contesting the proposed legislation that also prohibits a registered landowner from evicting any sitting tenant unless by court order. At yesterday’s meeting at 10 Downing Street, the two leaders tasked the planned integrated ad hoc committee to work expeditiously and get the land fund running “as a matter of urgency”.
Mr Museveni is in London at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II to attend this year’s Commonwealth Day. This year’s theme is: “The Environment – Our Future.” Mr Museveni is attending in his new role as Commonwealth chairman.
During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Kampala last November, President Museveni petitioned the UK government through Mr Brown to settle Uganda’s escalating land crises, largely created by uneven property distribution during the colonial epoch.
Mr Museveni argued that the mailo land ownership, which is predominant in Buganda region emanated from the arbitrary decision by colonial officials to dish out community land to a privileged few indigenous collaborators – thus disposing former legitimate land owners.
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