By Spy Uganda
Fort Portal: The latest news is that residents settled on Tooro Kingdom land who have been on panic over fear to be evicted by the Kingdom, will instead be issued with certificates of occupancy by the government that will then compensate the kingdom.
The development comes after the government kicked off a verification exercise of Tooro Kingdom properties in an attempt to return them to the cultural institution with an aim of differentiating Kingdom’s land, government and the public.
According to the state minister for Lands, Ms Persis Namuganza, said the verification came after President Museveni last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding with King Oyo to return the kingdom’s properties, adding that the process was only delayed due to COVID-19.
“After the exercise, the government will task the kingdom to provide certificate of occupancy to the tenants sitting on the kingdom land and the tenants will not be evicted,” Ms Namuganza said on Saturday.
Some of the kingdom land is in Kabarole, Bunyangabu, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge and Ntoroko districts, while other properties are in greater Tooro Kingdom in the districts of Kasese and Bundibugyo.
In Kamwenge District, the kingdom is demanding the return of the Nyachwamba land and Kamwenge prison, sitting on 325 acres, Gariraya land on eight acres, Kakara Village on 60 acres, Kakyinga-Kabunga on 194 acres, Lyamugonera land on 25 acres and 60 acres of land at Karambi quarry, that was formerly occupied by Uganda Railways Corporation.
Last week, the State minister for Local Government, Ms Jennifer Namuyangu, met officials from Tooro Kingdom at the start of the verification exercise in Fort Portal.
She said all the files had been submitted to the regional land zonal offices in Fort Portal to speed up the verification.
Ms Namuganza added that the kingdom land is occupied by government institutions such as police barracks, prisons, refugees and government will compensate the kingdom.
“During this period of verification we don’t want people to be exchanging land or selling until the process of verification is done. Those with land titles in the wetland will be cancelled,” she said.
The Tooro Kingdom prime minister, Mr Bernard Tungwako, also said people on the land are to be given certificates of occupancy. “Last week, King Oyo asked me to start registering all his subjects on the kingdom land and as kingdom, there is no single intention of evicting people,” he said.
Mr Tungwako said 95% of the people on the land do not have security of tenure and 85 per cent of the land is occupied by government institutions.
The Kabarole Resident District Commissioner, Mr Steven Asiimwe, said money lenders are escalating land conflicts, adding that some court bailiffs also take advantage of poor people and grab their land.