Govt calls for mass land registration to fight rampant evictions

State Minister for Lands, Sam Mayanja (R) inspects one of the houses demolished in an an attempted eviction on a family in Semuto Town Council, Nakaseke District on  Saturday February 26, 2022.PHOTO/DAN WANDERA

Uganda's government has urged citizens to register their land with the Ministry of Lands in order to avoid being evicted by land grabbers.

This follows numerous complaints from small-scale farmers that they are constantly being forced to leave their land by various investors and politicians.

Mr Dennis Obo, the Ministry of Lands' spokesperson, stated that the ministry receives a lot of complaints from the public about land grabbing, but the majority of the people have unregistered land.

He stated that the government, through the Ministry of Lands, has secured World Bank funding to register communal lands in selected areas across the country mostly in areas where land grabbing is rampant.

"The Ministry of Lands will focus on customarily land tenure systems in 32 districts, primarily in the northern, northern eastern, and Busoga regions."

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Uganda has abundant gold deposits and eastern Uganda is home to a number of nickel-platinum group minerals and rare earth elements.

This has caused concern among locals that the rush for these minerals is causing their displacement.

The vice chairperson of the Eastern and Southern African Farmers Forum, Mr Hakim Balirane, stated that while it is true that farmers have violated Ugandan law by encroaching on swamps and wetlands, the government should treat everyone equally.

“The Chinese have been allowed to extract development minerals such as sand and growing crops like rice yet local communities are being evicted,” he said.

There have been allegations that many evictors use coercion and falsified paperwork to evict people without land titles, especially in areas where there are mineral deposits.