Government has handed over 20 square miles of sub-county land to residents of Karusandara in Kasese District in an effort to end land disputes.
Since 1989 when Karusandara was carved out of Bugoye Sub-county, residents have been living as squatters on Mubuku prison farm land.
“It was until 1997 when government liberated us from being squatters though we were never officially given the opportunity to access the land titles,” Mr Ezra Turyahebwa, the sub-county chairperson, said on Tuesday.
“If you have land without a title, you automatically have no land and I’m warning the family heads to guard against mortgaging the matrimonial land. You should have separate land for business,” Mr Turyahebwa said.
He said each household will pay Shs30,000 to help the sub-county carry out the demarcation exercise.
Mr Godfrey Kashozi Dembe, the Karusandara Sub-county councillor, lauded government for the move.
“We had failed to do developments here because we were squatters. Government had not authorised us to go ahead with the developments. We are grateful for its effort to solve the land problems,” Mr Dembe said.
Lt Joe Walusimbi, the Resident District Commissioner, who presided over the launch of the titling exercise, told residents that land issues were sensitive and needed proper handling with stakeholders.
He said government will issue free land titles to more than 2,000 households in the sub-county.
Lt Walusimbi urged the communities to embrace the project so that Karusandara acts as a role model to other areas with land disputes.
“People have remained poor because they have no land titles to mortgage in the banks for loans since our credit institutions have not recognised the customary land certificates,” he said.