KAMPALA. A judge has revealed that the High Court is still grappling with pending land cases arising from the 1900 Buganda Agreement.
Justice Wilson Kwesiga, former head of the court’s Land Division, said as the country and the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire commission of inquiry into land management search for answers to land conflicts, they should beware of successive laws that have led to unresolved cases originating from the 117-year Buganda Kingdom agreement with the British colonial administration.
The Buganda Agreement (otherwise referred to as the Uganda Agreement) of March 1900, formalised the relationship between the Buganda Kingdom and the British Uganda Protectorate.
Under the agreement, land in Buganda was divided into crown land (for colonial government) and mailo land (for Kabaka/Buganda kingdom) and private mailo (for royals and chiefs).
The British also gained the right to veto future choices of the Kabaka of Buganda, and control of numerous other appointments.
“The other factor fuelling land conflicts is our history. I am aware that in the Land Division, I don’t have the specifics, there are pending cases that emanate from the 1900 Buganda agreement between the governor and one of the kings at the time,” Justice Kwesiga said.
He made the revelation during a Court Users meeting in Kampala on Monday.
“Of course this blows our imagination but these things are there. The contest is now between government of Republic of Uganda and the successors of the governor of Uganda then and the great grandchildren of the kings at the time,” he said.
At the same meeting, Justice Kwesiga presented a paper pointing out probably social-economic causes of land conflicts in Uganda.
The judge cited migration within and from outside the country, return of peace in Luweero Triangle, displacement of locals in cases of discovery of minerals, inter-tribal conflicts, wars between government bodies like Uganda Wild Life Authority, National Environmental Management Authority, National Forestry Authority and population growth as some of the outstanding causes of land conflicts.
The head of the High Court’s Land Division, Justice Andrew Bashaija, said the recommendations of the meeting about land would be forwarded to Justice Bamugemereire’s commission for consideration in their final report.
Justice Bamugemereire is conducting public hearings about land acquisition, administration, management and land registration in the country.