Govt tells landlords to register land

Apac Woman Member of Parliament Betty Engola, who represented the minister of Lands, hands over documents to the contractor at Ibuje Town Council last week. PHOTO / BILL OKETCH

What you need to know:

  • While launching the customary land registries project in Apac District last Thursday, Mr Dennis Obbo, the ministry’s principal information scientist, said land grabbers target unregistered customary land.

The government has called upon customary land owners to register their land to avoid land grabbing.

While launching the customary land registries project in Apac District last Thursday, Mr Dennis Obbo, the ministry’s principal information scientist, said land grabbers target unregistered customary land.

 “The land grabbers know that the first thing you do when they grab land is to register it because once you have registered, it is difficult to take it away from them. That is the reason we are giving you this opportunity now when you don’t have [many] land grabbers here,” he said. 

In her speech read by Apac Woman Member of Parliament Betty Engola, Ms Judith Nabakooba, the minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, said customary land accounts for 80 percent of the total land cover in the country.

 “The customary land certificates are conclusive evidence of the ownership of your customary land and are used as evidence of title as stipulated in Section 8 (1) & (7) of the Land Act,” the minister said.

 “It is for this reason that proper storage and secure environments must be constructed to protect these records, which will be referred to even in times of resolving disputes,”  Ms Nabakooba said.

 Mr Emmanuel Awio, the Apac principal assistant secretary, said 79.9 percent of civil cases registered in Apac are as a result of land conflicts.

Ms Nabakooba further said her ministry plans to continue with the construction of the customary land registries as a priority in the greater north as pledged in the NRM Manifesto in the next two to three years.

 The ministry’s permanent secretary, Ms Dorcas Okalany, said they have secured contractors to build the first ever sub-county customary land registries as envisaged under the Land Act.

 The scope of works include construction of new sub-county land registries to create office space for those recording and area land committees.

Ms Okalany said the technical team has estimated that works will be completed within two months to enable proper storage of the records that are currently in Ibuje and Chegere sub-counties.

 “So far, 1,056 parcels of land have been demarcated. Of these, 98 percent belong to families and 2 percent belong to individuals, 61 percent of registered owners are male and 39 percent female,” the permanent secretary said.

 “Ibuje has a total of 652 applications which have been mapped so far while Chegere has 404. These titles are due for presentation to the District Land Board of Apac which has just been approved before processing titles that will be kept in the newly-constructed sub-county land registries,”  she said.

The project sites in Ibuje and Chegere sub-counties were handed over to the contractor – Mawokota SRM & Construction Company.

 The minister of Lands requested the local government leaders to give all the necessary support to ensure that value for money is achieved.

 The project is implemented under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) financed by government and the European Union under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

 The Apac resident district commissioner, Mr Emmy Ngabirano, warned the contractor against shoddy work.

 “I don’t want to doubt the capacity that you will complete the work in 30 days… I have a passion for construction myself. Do quality work. We don’t want to fight with you, and if you do better you can even get more contracts if you get closer to the district because we would not need to go far when you are here,” he said. 

He added:“We have moved away from the insecurity of the Lord’s Resistance Army, now it is the insecurity of the increasing population and one of the solutions to that is acquiring customary titles.”

Mr Jawaso Alfred Engim, the chairperson of Ibuje Town Council, said before the establishment of a regional lands office in Lira City, people used to travel to Kampala to process land documents.

“So, I would like to thank the government of Uganda for making sure that services reach the people at the grassroots,”  he said.

“We are pleased with the government, Apac District local government and DINU for having brought this important project to the benefit of our local communities,” Mr Andrea Kizito, the Chegere Sub-county chief, said.


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