Leaders in Kalangala District have halted the allocation of public land in Bukasa Island, citing irregularities in the application process.
Private individuals and district officials had acquired plots on the 178-acre piece of land at Katale –Buswaga Village in Kyamuswa Sub-county.
The cancellation followed a directive by Mr Daniel Kikoola, the Resident District Commissioner, after some residents led by Mr George Kutesa petitioned his office and other top district leaders.
Residents claimed the district land board had not followed the right procedure during the exercise.
Mr Kikoola on Tuesday said he had instructed the district surveyor to resurvey the land.
“I advise those that are interested in that public land to reapply by filling their applications with the area land committee,” he said.
Mr Willy Lugoloobi, the district chairperson, said they had inspected the piece of land and discovered that the area land committee had initiated the process of parcelling it out to individuals.
“The good thing is that they (area land committee) had not yet granted them lease offers and we stopped them,” he said.
Mr Lugoloobi also said the committee members would be trained on their roles after some admitted they did not know them.
“Issues such as identification of land boundaries and conducting mediation on land matters are supposed to be handled by area land committees, but some members said they don’t know their roles. That explains why we are stuck with the challenge of land grabbing and dubious land transactions in the area,” he said.
Daily Monitor has learnt that a total of 86 individuals, including district officials had applied for the plots.
Mr Kutesa said most of the applicants are not known in the area yet residents were not considered.
He cited youth groups in the area that had applied for land to use it for coffee growing under Operation Wealth Creation programme, but their application was not considered.
However, Ms Brenda Naziwa, the chairperson of the land committee, said the applicants that were not considered did not go through them.
“Some (applicants) came to us claiming that they had been cleared by the district land board, some pieces of land were not surveyed before they were allocated to district officials and they ended up stretching into adjacent private land which has sparked off wrangles in the area,” she said.
Mr Moris Bafirawala, the secretary of the district land board, admitted that there were some irregularities.
Reported by Sam Nkuba, Malik Fahad Jjingo & Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa
Search for island land
The district owns 200 acres of land on Bukasa Island. It is also pushing for acquisition of 200 acres on Buggala main Island for expansion of Kalangala Town. However, the proposed piece of land is part of the 430 acre of Lutoboka Forest Reserve which can only be de-gazetted after parliamentary approval.
If Parliament approves the de-gazettement of part of the reserve, district authorities plan to give National Forestry Authority some 193 hectares in compensation ,to plant there a new forest. Mr Willy Lugoloobi said they want the land for a prison, mortuary and public cemetery.