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Seal the Buganda /Uganda land cancer

By Ndawula Ronald

The clamor and clutter over land between government and Buganda kingdom has stimulated a good debate. 

“What was” and “what was not” in the Buganda agreement of 1900 is now a tricky business in 2021 after 121 years.The re-emergence of this problem every other decade seems like a cancer ignored and won’t go away by indifference.

Its trite to say, land belonged to all of us as subjects of the King before 1900. What triggered and motivated the architects of the various Mailo to apportion shares in Buganda after 1900? 

Does the ordinary Muganda know that his/her plot is now subject of a double tax irrespective of it being Mailo tenure or not?

Who gave authority for these shares to proceed? Did these people in 1900 think about me who was born in 1970?

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I would like to reckon, The Mzungu as usual duped our Great grandfathers to sign on a document to fulfill their colonial agenda after compromising a lucky group near the young King who had not come of age and they reaped big. Were the regents, Appolo Kaggwa, Stanlus Mugwaanya Noho Mbogo and Zakaria kizito of those days advised about the consequences of a few people owning land on behalf of a future many others?

Aware that the agreement was in English and the signatories further committed a treasonable offense of relinquishing the state power of the King and surrendering it to the Queen in an agreement with Sir Harry Johnstone. 

Why did the regents get 24square miles each and their relatives 2 each and chiefs 8?

These questions keep challenging my mind as an ordinary Ugandan.

This agreement not only duped Uganda to become a protectorate but also our Great grand fathers errored when they signed to join a Union called Uganda without knowing the consequences.

This same mistake was finally sealed in 1962 when Kabaka was duped to give away powers to the elected President at independence. 

How do you celebrate independence from an agreement that bonded you and you turn around to extract some sections as good for a few? The regents sold our rights to property and our independence and should be regarded in the most scornful, contemptible manner.

Eating your cake and having it has always remained a challenge. 

Buganda merged its rights to Uganda and the only way out is probably secession or federalism.

Without bias, let’s look at this problem as citizens irrespective of our tribes and denominations because we now belong to a unified Uganda. 

Let’s question ourselves objectively to ascertain the crux of the persistent land problem in Uganda.

Having participated in leadership of my community of Luwero for the last 20 years am aware of the importance of enacting functional and enabling laws to suit the current situation. 

It would be hypocrisy to hide my head in the sand and pretend all is well in our villages.

Land grabbers may not be the only problem now, 

The exponential population growth, the compounding demand for housing , aggressive urbanisation and industrialization which were not envisaged by the architects of the 1900 agreement and maybe overlooked by the framers of the 1995 constitution.

I have witnessed innumerable events and people flocking to the district complaining about being evicted.

On many occasions people had settled on their Bibanja for quite some time without conflict.

I have seen landowners being resurrected by their fourth generation siblings to claim what is legally theirs.

What has really confused me is that, I bought a title less plot in the 90’s before joining politics. I wanted to process a title for this land and went to Bukalsa land office to kick start the process and only to be told that Bulemeezi block 652 which includes Luwero town council and Luwero subcounty belongs to Buganda land board and no more titles can be processed or leases arranged without the Buganda land office.

I have been getting leases and freehold titles on the same block many times over the years!

I wondered what’s this new arrangement on our kibanja and land we inherited from my father and which he bought in the early 70’s.

How do I start to pay Busuulu for a property we have been holding for almost half a century?

Initially, I was of the view that Museveni is not the right person to sort the land mess because he reversed what his predecessors had sorted.

When I saw him meeting with the Kabaka I knew there’s no turning back apart from solving this generational impasse.

I have realised a problem postponed is not a problem solved.

Now that the debate is raging, let us get serious explanations and sober ideas to help posterity.

The same agreement duped Ugandans to become a British Protectorate which we celebrate having ceased by the 1962 grant of independence!

How sure and any guarantees that this land provision was not a selfish maneuver by the British or intended for the good of all us the Baganda of the future?

I seek objective answers and views without the usual hullabaloo of uninformed sycophancy so that we swallow the bitter pill and seal this forever.

Ndawula Ronald, the author is a former chairperson Luwero District

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1 comment

Lukanga Samuel August 8, 2021 at 7:57 pm

Trusted news Uganda,
Kindly inbox me for an urgent issue of national importance

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