Ministry of Trade PS Geraldine Ssali in Anti-Corruption court dock Ministry of Trade PS Geraldine Ssali in dock at the Anti-Corruption

Museveni’s directives on land must bear fruit

Victims of land eviction at a meeting in Busamba Village, Wakiso District, on December 20, 2022. The disputed land on Block 53 Plot 15 measures more than 1,000 acres in Namayumba Sub-county.  Photo | File

What you need to know:

  • The issue: Land evictions
  • Our view:  For Mr Museveni’s orders to translate into tangible change, there must be a robust framework for monitoring and enforcement. Local authorities and law enforcement agencies need to be equipped and motivated to uphold these new standards.

President Museveni’s recent directive to curtail illegal land evictions marks a pivotal step towards addressing one of the nation’s most pressing issues.

Land disputes, a persistent source of conflict and injustice, have plagued Uganda for decades, often leaving the most vulnerable citizens without recourse or shelter. 

Mr Museveni’s orders aim to halt this trend, focusing on the Ministry of Lands’ responsibility to ensure evictions are lawful and grounded in proper documentation. The President’s mandate comes at a critical time. With 70 percent of Uganda’s land undocumented, landowners and tenants often find themselves ensnared in legal ambiguities.

By emphasising the need for due process, Mr Museveni is advocating for a more transparent and just system. This move is a commendable effort to uphold the rule of law and protect citizens from arbitrary displacement. 

Furthermore, by calling for strict action against landlords imposing excessive rent, the directive seeks to balance power dynamics in favour of the economically disadvantaged.

However, the success of these directives hinges on effective implementation. Uganda’s history of land management is fraught with inefficiencies and corruption. 

The Ministry of Lands must now undertake a monumental task of cataloging and regulating vast tracts of land, a process that demands both resources and political will.

For Mr Museveni’s orders to translate into tangible change, there must be a robust framework for monitoring and enforcement. Local authorities and law enforcement agencies need to be equipped and motivated to uphold these new standards.

History has it that land is not just an economic asset but a deeply political one, often used to garner support or suppress dissent. As the 2026 General Election approaches, some may argue that Mr Museveni’s stance is designed to placate a disgruntled electorate.

While political calculations cannot be entirely dismissed, the focus should remain on the potential benefits of these policies for every citizen. Therefore, the President’s new orders on land evictions present a beacon of hope for many Ugandans. 

If executed with diligence and integrity, these measures could significantly reduce unlawful evictions and promote fairer land tenure practices. The true test will lie in the government’s ability to enforce these directives impartially and consistently.

This initiative, while promising, must be continuously monitored and supported by both governmental and non-governmental entities to ensure it serves the people it is meant to protect.  

As Uganda moves forward, the balance between political interests and genuine social justice will be crucial in determining the success of these reforms.