By Spy Uganda
Over 300 families in Mbale’s slum areas have received land titles, a move described by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba, as one championed by Government to improve slum areas in Uganda.
“In 2008, Government approved a plan to upgrade all slum areas in Uganda beginning with the issuing of land titles to people living in those areas,” Nabakooba said.
The minister also added that the move will help protect the urban poor from land grabbers who have become a problem.
Nabakooba made the remarks during a land title giveaway ceremony in Namatala Nyanzi cell, industrial division, Mbale City.
According to Nambozo Sarah, the coordinator, of the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda (NSDFU), the urban poor are the most neglected and disadvantaged people in most of Uganda’s urban areas. Receiving land titles, she said, is the first step in trying to help solve some of the problems they are facing.
“NSDFU is a social movement that constitutes poor urban dwellers so their concerns can be heard and solved. We believe that this move will help empower these people and also help reduce land-grabbing cases in urban areas,” she said.
Sarah Nandutu, the national coordinator for NSDFU, said that the organization’s partnership with other players such as UN-Habitat and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, has managed to mobilize people in slum areas across the country so that they can easily be helped on improving their lives.
“We believe that the lives of these people can be transformed if we put in the effort to do so,” she said adding that, “if the urban poor are not helped, there are chances of high crime rates in urban areas.”
Mbale City is the first city to issue land titles to the urban poor. 52 per cent of those who received the land titles were women, something the lands ministry lauded.
“I am deeply happy to see that women today are able to own land titles. This was not the case back in the days. Women used to appear on land titles only as witnesses. Today they are landowners with land titles,” she said.
Nabakooba also intimated to this reporter that Government plans to empower the Urban poor across the country first by giving them land titles.
“Our goal is to see that the urban poor’s lives are improved. We plan to do this in all urban areas across the country. Our next stop is Mbale,” she said.
Mbale City’s Resident City Commissioner, Ahmed Washaki, echoed the need for the residents who have received the land titles to guard their property jealously.
“Now that you have received the land titles, you need to be extremely careful when it comes to people who may want to grab your land. Some will come to you with lies. Please guard your land titles jealously,” he advised.