A cross section of residents verifying their land titles with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development at Hoima boma ground.
A section of residents in Kikuube District fear an eminent forceful eviction from their land if higher authorities do not intervene earliest.
Speaking during a three-day Land Awareness Activities in Bunyoro Sub-region at Hoima boma grounds, the residents reported that land titles were being offered in Kabwoya and Kiziranfumbi sub-counties without the knowledge of the neighbours.
Jane Karungi, a resident of Buhimba sub-county accused the Local Council authorities of allegedly colluding with some people to grab, process and title land in the district.
“Our LC chairpersons have not helped us to guard against land grabbers in Buhimba. We suspect that there is complicity between them aiding intruders to grab our land because whenever we rush to them for help, they shy away,” she said.
Kenneth Rumanywoha, another resident of Kabwoya sub-county said the residents do not know about the existence of the Area Land Committee in the sub-county to handle their land matters.
He was also suspicious that such committees were being bribed to have land seized. “Area Land Committees are bribed by land grabbers to process land titles without the neighbours’ knowledge.
Political leaders in Kikuube district have not helped us about our land grievances and whenever we approach them, they keep a deaf ear and we end up losing our land,” he said.
The residents also accused Edward Irumba saying he titled 816.6 acres (331.3ha) of land covering three villages in Kyangwali sub-county without the approval of any of the village chairpersons.
They also said that a big chunk of land was titled by MZ Agencies yet it belongs to them. Peter Nyakatuura another resident accused the National Forestry Authority (NFA) of allegedly encroaching on people’s land because it does not know its boundaries.
“We wonder why NFA has on many occasions been seen encroaching on our land. District local governments have not demarcated land belonging to NFA that ends up grabbing our land,” he said.
In response, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development spokesperson, Denis Obbo, advised the aggrieved persons to write to the Title Office, Commission of Land Registration to enable review, investigation and action to be taken.
Also, the Hoima district LC 5 vice chairperson, Frederick Kakoraki, advised that if the Area Land Committee in Kabwoya had not been in existence as the residents alleged, any land title processed in its absence will be nullified by courts of law.
“There isn’t any shortcut of acquiring a land title without the consent of the sub-county Area Land Committee. I advise you to seek legal guidance on procedures followed to handle the matter.”
The vice chairperson told the residents that a person can also acquire a land title using lawyers not necessarily only residents appending signatures on the forms for the cause.
Kakoraki also told people that the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development is still offering land titles in Bunyoro sub-region contrary to their claim that they were told that the government stopped issuance of land titles in the sub-region.
The politician informed the residents that currently, “District Land Boards are not final in processing land titles” adding that “a regional land office was opened in Masindi to handle land titles contrary to the past when people travelled to Entebbe for the same service”.
The awareness campaign was organised by Civic Response on Environment and Development (CRED) in partnership with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.