Fighting Illegal Land Evictions Is My Priority In This Kisanja-Says Nabakooba As She Applauds Museveni For New Directives

Fighting Illegal Land Evictions Is My Priority In This Kisanja-Says Nabakooba As She Applauds Museveni For New Directives

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By Spy Uganda

Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Judith Nabakooba has applauded her boss President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for the directives against rampant land evictions in the country.

Addressing the press yesterday at media centre, Nabakooba revealed that the issue of preventing illegal land evictions is going to be her number one priority saying that these acts have left the poor Ugandans helpless after losing their lands to ruthless mafias.

 “They target the poor, the voiceless, and the uneducated communities, disrupting their livelihoods and hampering Government programmes aimed at empowering the citizens. On several occasions, these evictions have destroyed property and led to loss of innocent lives,” she said adding; 

“As a country, we have always had the laws criminalising such land evictions. For example, the Land Act Section 92(1) (e) (as amended) and (5)(a) provides a punishment of 7 years or a fine of one million nine hundred and twenty thousand for anyone who participates in the eviction of a lawful or bonafide occupant. (https://www.armorfenceco.com) ”

Let’s look at some of Museveni’s directives meant to curb illegal land evictions.

1. No eviction should be allowed to take place in a district without the District Security Committee, chaired by the RDCs, meeting, looking and consulting directly the Minister of Lands.

2. If this is not done and evictions take place, the President will take action on all the Members of the District Security Committee, except the UPDF representative because he/she may not know the substance of the issues involved.

3.  His Excellency the President requested His Lordship the Chief Justice to prevail on the Magistrates and Judges from violating the Constitution by illegally evicting people in collusion with land grabbers.

4. The President also directed the Minister of Lands to inform the Attorney General about abuses by Judicial officers so that legal action can be taken on them.

“I therefore want to call upon the District Security Committees to take note of the President’s directive. I will be issuing a circular to all RDCs and CAOs on implementing this directive. I have already addressed all RDCs on this matter,” Hon. Nabakooba added, noting that the District Security Committees must now adjust their Terms of Reference to include implementing the Presidential Directive.

Hon. Nabakooba said the District Security Committee must ensure no land eviction take place especially on unregistered or land with tenants on it, and all the necessary guidelines as stated must be followed.

She emphasized that for those paying Busuulu, the rent shall remain basic or nominal because the occupants cannot afford economic rent. This rent was gazetted under Statutory Instrument 2011 No 55.

Finally in light of the President’s Directive, Hon. Nabakooba pledged to Guide the Resident District Commissioners (RDC) on the responsibilities they must fulfill.

Below are some of the responsibilities that RDCs must fulfill

1. To advise the Minister responsible for lands on all eviction related matters reported in their respective districts;

2. To comply with implementing the Presidential ban on land evictions;

3. To monitor, inspect and report on a monthly basis the land acquired by large scale land investors in order to ensure that land being taken over is not occupied by tenants or customary land owners;

4. To carry out the function of District Mediation as provided for in the National Land Policy, 2013 as a means of curbing all evictions.

5. To draw the attention to the Ministry of Lands on any divergence from or noncompliance with Government policies, laws and Presidential directives on land evictions.

6. Evictions from critical ecological systems, forest reserves and wetlands shall be handled as per cabinet directives. The law provides for a period of 6 months and so measures should be put in place not to cause distress, but move out gradually under proper supervision.

Having listed the RDCs’ responsibilities, Hon. Nabakooba called upon the RDCs to be vigilant and give evidence based information on all eviction related matters.

Further more, she called upon everyone who feels they are being violated or threatened to reach out to their local leaders for protection against destroying their livelihoods and causing landlessness in the country. “Find your RDCs and tell them about those threatening you with eviction so that necessary action is taken,” she said.

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