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Minister Nabakooba suspends Buikwe land activities, orders arrest of officials

Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba. File Photo

BUIKWE, UGANDA: The Minister of Land, Housing, and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba has suspended all Buikwe land official activities for three weeks over irregular land transactions.

She also wants that a report after the three weeks, and in case any irregularities are found to be made by any district land official, then they should be punished.

“The land will therefore be given to those tenants who will apply instead of outsiders” she concluded.

Nabakooba issued the directive during meetings held at Kidadili village and Bugoba Primary School, in Bugoba C, Buikwe district following various land evictions of residents in the district.

During the meeting, the minister gave an order for the arrest of the district secretary to the land board, Hadijjah Ssebyala and her colleague only identified as Eng Ssemakula, who were indeed arrested and taken to Njeru police division.

Nabakooba had earlier asked Ssebyala to explain how various rich people were able to claim ownership of the contested land or at least provide some documents pertaining to the said land, but she failed to claim she did not have the documents at the moment.

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This followed several complaints by the residents to the minister over the despicable corruption going on in the land offices.

Mubarak Wameru, a resident of Kidadili says that he faced the same challenges trying to secure his land title.

Despite the fact that he followed all the right procedures, he said he was shocked when the title came back only having half of the land.

“I did all it takes, followed up my paperwork however, when the land title was back, I only received half of my land and the other part of the land was given to someone else something I never understood,” Wameru complained.

Kenneth Sserunjoji says that files get lost in the land offices and at the same time land titles are being fabricated.

“We open a file to register land but when you try following up at what stage the file is, you are told your file has never been received,” he says

However, Solomon Musoke notes that the demand for land is high and there are so many land selling crooks.

He said: “There are so many crooks in the district offices. If possible Honorable minister I request that you cancel those land titles.”

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The district chairperson LC5 Jimmy Kanabi says that suspending the office’s activities is going to give them time to do a transparent investigation.

He then alleges that most of the land cases happened during a period of office transition from the old officials to the new ones.

“The technical staff did most of these illegal land transactions during the period when the district was trying to transition from the old regime to the new regime.”

Before her arrest, while Ssebyala was addressing the residents, she said that her office had received files from the said villages this year however, the files didn’t have physical planning comments.

Nabakooba noted that summoning one to a meeting and then they take things lightly is not something the government is willing to tolerate.

She then warned the district land board employees over their seriousness in doing their job and then directed them to go back on the ground to map out the residential areas and farming areas.

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