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Thousands of land titles could be cancelled

A wider investigation into the aggressive land evictions countrywide is looking for potential wrongdoing by government officials and has expanded to determine if alleged misconduct involved Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), magistrates and real estate dealers.

Insiders familiar with the investigation say several RDCs and magistrates may be sacked while some real estate companies may be forced out of business.

A source at the ministry of Lands says the investigation is being done by a joint task force comprising of officials from the ministry, the army and the police land protection unit.

The probe is specifically looking at how real estate dealers easily get eviction orders from courts, which they use to push bibanja owners (tenants) off their land without adequately compensating them.

The ministry committee is headed by the junior minister for Lands, Aidah Nantaba, Wakiso Woman MP Rosemary Sseninde, Deborah Asasira, and Mulinde Mukasa Kintu. The investigation team is also tasked by the president to visit different parts of the country and help evictees repossess their land.

"Because the land is intended for resale, they are not adequately paying the owners and are not compensating the tenants because that would raise the costs which they may not recover," Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi said in an interview at the weekend.

The real estate dealers, according to Mirundi, have also persuaded RDCs with sweeteners and perks into supporting the fraudulent evictions.

"We have discovered that RDCs are beneficiaries of this robbery. The ordinary people now have nowhere to run to because the RDCs who would have helped them are behind the evictors," he said.

The dealers are said to have been paying as low as Shs 500,000 to some bibanja owners, while others only receive a bag of rice before they are duped into signing sale agreements and later forced off their land. According to Henry Harrison Irumba, a principal policy analyst in the ministry of Lands, cases like these are common in Namayumba sub-county, Wakiso district.

"They [land dealers] mainly target old people who they persuade into signing agreements consenting to the sale of their land, and after getting their signatures, they pretend as if they are going to pick money from the car, but disappear without paying," Irumba said.

The Observer recently reported the  case of a 78-year-old woman Erivesta Nabwami, who is fighting Hossana Real Estates over a 188-acre piece of land at Buloba along Mityana road. In Wakiso district alone, State House estimates that over 4,000 families have been affected by the evictions.

A February 22 statement on land grabbing, issued by President Museveni, said the evictions had spiked the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in different parts of the country, against which background; the government is taking steps to reverse the evictions.

Most evictions, according to Mirundi, are based on court orders issued by magistrates who are bribed by land dealers. Only three companies, Jomayi  property Consultants, Akright and HB Matovu Property consultants, appear to be in good books with State House.

Anti-Museveni

The group of "notorious" real estate dealers, according to Mirundi, is being monitored because they are understood to be backed by political forces working against Museveni.

"The massive evictions are part of a plot to undermine the president and overthrow the government," Mirundi says.

The group, Mirundi told us, employs soldiers to effect their evictions, and claims to be backed by State House, thus portraying the president as a double dealer.

President Museveni in a February 22 statement referred to the dealers as bayaye-minded pseudo-capitalists, and accused them of taking advantage of the ignorance of the peasants.

"Some of them are not human enough considering the way they are carrying out the evictions. It is usually done at night or very early in the morning. Many families have had their graveyards destroyed without any allowance for them to transfer the graveyards," Irumba told us.


Nantaba has recently held about three meetings with the dealers to chart out a mechanism of minimizing the eviction-related problems. She also used the meetings to sensitize the dealers on the Land Act, which prohibits eviction without adequate compensation, a basis on which, the government is helping the evictees to repossess their land.

During the meetings, Nantaba is also reported to have informed the dealers that they would lose the land titles they fraudulently acquired.

"It is going to be a process, but all land titles that were issued in error are going to be cancelled," Irumba told us, although he could not be exact on how many real estate companies would be affected.

The Observer was told that Nantaba wanted the cancellation to be done urgently, but this was resisted by senior civil servants in the ministry, citing legal landmines.

The ministry is also in the process of developing a national real estate policy which will offer a framework to guide the operations of real estate developers, managers and agents.

Workaholic

The Observer has learnt that because of the magnitude of the problem, on Monday through to Thursday, Nantaba stays in office up to as late as 2am, attending to various land problems. As early as 7 o'clock in the morning, on these days, there are already people waiting to meet the minister.

To manage the surging numbers, the ministry issues appointments on the basis of first come - first served.

"You can't come at this time and expect to see her. Why don't you come back on Monday, but make sure that you are here before 7am because if you again come at this time (11am) that means that you'll see her like at 2am," a security officer at the ministry's main entrance advised this writer who visited shortly before 11am on Friday.

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Comments

 
+3 #1 Ugtginker 2013-03-25 00:07
That's Museveni for you! He let his heartless land grabbers terrorise Ugandans, now he is setting the stage for him to intervene as a SAVOIUR!!!!!!! Surprisingly, unsuspecting Ugandans will soon start singing praises of all sorts.

My message to you is very simple you have a choice to opt out of this foolery and demand respect else his games are not yet to end.
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0 #2 peter marco 2013-03-25 03:20
At the end of the day, whenever that day will come from now on, Museveni has been the worst thing that happened to this country.

He has forgotten everything he caused many people to die for in Luwero; he has become totalitarian; built no institutions; rigged elections each time there was one; championed corruption, promoted nepotism and tribalism like no other president before him, caused instability in the great lakes region,.......(sorry, i cannot finish. you may continue).
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0 #3 turnseal 2013-03-25 05:06
If during the kabakas, the colonial, obote & amin governments people were not evicted,why are they now?
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0 #4 Bale 2013-03-25 05:17
Though what there doing is right/good, However, museveni knew that they were using soldiers to take peoples properties.

Now he is trying to be the saviour. I am hoping Nanaba knows tha she is a STEPING LADDER for the 4th erm for museveni.
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0 #5 dvak 2013-03-25 14:42
Under the current laws, a Kibanja holder must show proof he/she was living on the Kibanja land for 13 years before the coming into force of the 1995 Uganda Constitution or show proof that he/she had acquired the kibanja from the registered landlord.

Many of evictions that have taken place do not involve the above two cases, but rather people simply illegally settled someone's land and claimed they acquired kibanja which they late sold to other newcomers on the land.

The real fight currently on land issues is between the old real estates dealers who cannot compete with the new estate dealers. It looks like State House has taken sides with the old timers as its seams that"Only three companies, Jomayi property Consultants, Akright and HB Matovu Property consultants, appear to be in good books with State House."
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0 #6 kato 2013-03-25 15:11
probably need to question who is this appointing authority who ends up aponting 90% corupt RDC. FUNNY!
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0 #7 Webesixty 2013-03-25 16:03
Anybody who misuses authority for self enrichment is a fraudster. If in 32 years anyone cannot tell NRA/NRM for what they stand for, then we have a big problem. They caused close to 1000,000 lost lives in Luweero. 1000,000 in Northern Region.

7000,000 in DRC. 15,000,000 heads of cattle were stolen in North and Northeast Uganda. Add lost properties and people from rest of the country.

And still we have people who do not understand what all the cries is all about. Add idustries and government properties. Stolen donor funds and 30% monetary deflation to the economy.Theft of any land till they drop dead. add oil revenue,pension funds,GAVI,COGM ,Temangalo etc.

You still want these thugs around? Now they want to destroy our cultures so that they could help themselves legally to what is left of the country.
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+1 #8 peter marco 2013-03-25 16:24
Exuse me the observer someone is using my name and using abusive language. I am the real peter marco the NRM supporter and from Birmingham UK political analyser,Politc al blog and communicator. can u plz delete the other person calling himself peter marco.

I am the only one always debating on different radios in the World talking about Uganda politics issues. He says that the president caused alot of problems and he forgets the history of Uganda
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-1 #9 peter marco 2013-03-25 16:27
Quoting peter marco:
At the end of the day, whenever that day will come from now on, Museveni has been the worst thing that happened to this country.

He has forgotten everything he caused many people to die for in Luwero; he has become totalitarian; built no institutions; rigged elections each time there was one; championed corruption, promoted nepotism and tribalism like no other president before him, caused instability in the great lakes region,.......(sorry, i cannot finish. you may continue).


Stop using my name i am the real peter marco ok and i am NRM Supporter not you bse you do not know the history of Uganda ok stop using my name ok i have told the observer. I am from birmingham uk and i am not you abusing the President and using bad language
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0 #10 ziri 2013-03-25 16:33
"The massive evictions are part of a plot to undermine the president and overthrow the government," Mirundi says. why does everything relate to M7, Mirundi Mirundi Mirundi your are a disturbed man
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-1 #11 Nakasero 2013-03-25 20:14
Here we go again! How can Uganda prosper if people in some important areas sabotage it?Show me one developed country where people do not abide by law and sabotage own country and development?None! In Uganda- everything is possible.

How then Uganda can prosper and advance if you sabotage it and later boast how country is staggering?
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0 #12 Betty Long Cap 2013-03-25 20:33
Quoting ziri:
... why does everything relate to M7,....


...because Ugandans made him the center of a country whose sole purpose is his good pleasure. Anyone saying otherwise is in danger of assassination.
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0 #13 peter marco 2013-03-25 21:13
If you see me not on here is bse someone else is using my name calling himself peter marco
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0 #14 wodgot 2013-03-25 21:53
Mr. President, that's where you get more sincere support because I am a victim too. I work hard and don't believe in stealing from Gov't or anybody:

why is it that even the little that I have is being grabbed by highly placed people? The value of my land is now over 100m and it's only a stone throw away from Mukuno University.

I bought a prime piece of land over eight years ago in Mukono and it's just a stone throw away from Mukono University. Why somebody is sitting on this case for over 8 years is what I will die to know!

The land has been fraudulently bought by one of the Mukono Christian University Academic Registrars and it seems he has now built two houses on it. Why am I being denied justice, Mr. President? I am not going to rest this case until they kill me.
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+2 #15 Peter marco 2013-03-26 15:50
how can you be when i was born with the name...my birthday certificates and passports have the name..peter marco and i live in dudley in west midlands
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+2 #16 Peter marco 2013-03-26 15:51
The president has made a right mess of these country..so instead of resigning he is firing other people..how original eh?
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0 #17 Webesixty 2013-03-26 19:12
Quoting Nakasero:
Here we go again! How can Uganda prosper if people in some important areas sabotage it?Show me one developed country where people do not abide by law and sabotage own country and development?None! In Uganda- everything is possible.

How then Uganda can prosper and advance if you sabotage it and later boast how country is staggering?


Misuse of resources by a small clique of people with bankrupt ideas can never be called development. I would rather call it corruption. Problem is, old dogs will never learn new tricks. Fancy a despot on a begging spree in a $ 50 million Gulf Stream executive jet.

Spice that with a $ 1.4 Million Pullman Guard limo for showing off to goat herders from far places like Rutagarama. All this at the expense of public service. I'm not blaming you for this mishap. You are only earning your bread. The bucks stop at West Foreign Policy Framers. Over to you.
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