President Museveni and Kabaka of Buganda, His Majesty Ronald Mutebi II met on Tuesday at Nakasero State Lodge in Kampala and held talks which among others headlined was the Mailo land issue.
“Held a meeting with His Majesty the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II at Nakasero State Lodge. His Majesty was in the company of Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga and Prince David Wasajja. We discussed matters of mutual interest,” President Museveni tweeted on Tuesday evening after the meeting which was closed to media coverage.
The two held a private meeting and among the key issues suspected on their agenda was the Mailo land system that sparked controversy in the past few months.
“This afternoon, the Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II visited the Nakasero state lodge where he met the president. As you may be aware, leaders always have some things to talk about and indeed if there any issues the leaders talk about them and it yields to something,” Mr Mayiga told BBS TV after the meeting.
The meeting comes after a proposed government Bill seeking reforms in the Mailo land tenure system sparked a storm as Buganda opposes any move aimed at tampering with it.
“It’s not anywhere else in Uganda. It is really very bad and not fair but some people support it. How do you allow these things to happen? Land owners should be entitled to full ownership of their land like elsewhere in Uganda. In Ankole, nobody can chase you away from your land. You even fear,” Museveni said during the heroes day celebrations in June. He said the system needs to be subjected to reforms.
On Saturday, the Kabaka in what seemed like a response to Museveni’s comments, said Buganda’s spirit of welcoming people from all walks of life is being interpreted as weakness.
“We condemn those who deliberately create a situation to derail us from reminding government on what belongs to us. We have heard many people discuss about land in Buganda and many have said it is curtailing Uganda’s development. This is not true. Those who say this want to weaken the kingdom of Buganda,” Kabaka said during his 28th coronation anniversary ceremony held at Nkoni Palace in Lwengo District.
“Such things bring sorrow to our hearts and make us question why land in other parts of the country is not mentioned ( as it is with Buganda). Buganda does not or has never wished to split from Uganda, neither has it and will never kick other citizens out(of Buganda).Why is the Buganda spirit of welcoming everyone being misinterpreted as a weakness?”
He insisted that Buganda will not stop demanding for what belongs to its people.
Recently, the government announced that it is coming up with new land reforms, including scrapping Mailo land, which they say will protect interests of both landlords and bibanja holders (tenants) and also save them from arbitrary evictions. The system is common in Buganda.
Nakaseke, Luweero and Nakasongola districts continue to register a high number of cases involving mass land evictions over failure by the different parties to honour the land transaction guidelines under the amended Land Act 2010.
In Nakasongola, where more than 80 per cent of the land is under the mailo system, a section of the landlords claim that the government’s planned interventions seem to be bent on trying to cushion the unresolved and unfair sections of the land act that deny them the right to benefit from their land.
The Uganda Land Commission also recommended that the system be scrapped.
A source at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development last month said the law will guarantee safety of bibanja holders and tenants and shield them from incessant evictions.