Protect schools’ land from encroachers

A resident points at one of the buildings that used to house the head teacher’s office and the staffroom at Gomero Primary School in Nakaseke District. The school is now dilapidated and has a bushy compound. PHOTO / DAN WANDERA

What you need to know:

  • The issue: School land grabbing. 
  • Our view: Ministries of Lands and Education should launch a nationwide campaign to save public and government-aided land from land grabbers. 

Kampala Archbishop Paul Ssemogerere has asked Ugandans to fight against individuals who want to grab land belonging to different religious sects.

Archbishop Ssemogerere said church or mosque land is meant for projects that provide  various social services to the public.  

“The land is not for the Catholic Church, the Anglicans or Muslims. It is meant to develop all Ugandans. When you hear or see someone grabbing this land, guard it jealously because it is your land. When we construct hospitals, churches and schools on this land, these services are utilised by a bigger population not selfish individuals,” he advised mid this week. (See Daily Monitor, Friday December 31, 2021)  

The archbishop was commissioning St Cyprian Ssumbwe Seed Secondary School, a Shs2.1billion facility in Wakiso District. 

His call comes a few months after   Lands, Housing and Urban Development Minister Judith Nabakooba intervened in a dispute between Nabisunsa Girls’ School in Kyambogo  and Uganda Land Commission over  boundaries of contested land that has hitherto belonged to  the school since 1958. 

Nabisunsa Girls School is just one of the very few educational institutions that could have survived  losing part of it’s land. 

Hotels, malls  and other commercial developments now occupy pieces of land that once belonged to schools in Kampala and other parts of the country following questionable acquisitions of these lands.

But of recent, the vice, especially in Bukedea and Wakiso districts, has been fuelled by the almost 24-month closure of schools imposed to contain the spread of  coronavirus. 

For example,  last year, about 30 public schools in Nwoya District, located in northern Uganda were on the verge of losing their land due to mounting land contestation and encroachment,  with Alex Kakooza, the  education ministry Permanent Secretary,  admitting they had received reports from different areas of the country about grabbing of school land.    

He did not disclose steps taken to save the institutions from illegally losing part or of all their land.  
With schools due to reopen on January 10, our prayer is that the Ministry of Lands and that of Education launch a nationwide campaign to save public and government-aided schools from encroachers. 

The campaign should involve ensuring that all public and government-aided schools acquire and keep  their land titles.  This will keep land grabbers at bay and save some of the remaining school structures.