Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga adressing the Buganda Lukiiko to which he emphasized the relevance of the project.
The current BLB Mass Titling campaign dubbed “A Land title in your hands” launched on 18th Feb 2017, has raised debate from different circles of the public including political, social, economic and some self-opinion seekers. This comes as a result of either ignorance, misinformation of the lease titling process or a deliberate act by a small group of self-centered people aiming at sabotaging and discouraging the public from the benefits of owning a land title.
The mass titling project is an arrangement intended to improve and formalize the relationship between the tenants and their landlord the Kabaka of Buganda. There have been many disputes arising from fraudulent land transactions due to lack of a central database to make proper verifications on various encumbrances following the lack of proper land documentation and undefined boundaries.
A land title in your hands has a sole purpose of streamlining ownership so that all interested parties can enhance the value of their bibanja and foster development. It is evident that untitled land attracts less investment and development because the interested potential developer cannot stand the risk of investing revenue in a place that is questionable with no clear boundary demarcation. The reason why most land in Buganda is not developed is because most of the Baganda occupying the land feel that they do not need to meet their obligations since Kabaka does not chase away people.
Land in Buganda has been characterized by problems which are mistaken to be originating from Mailo Land ownership and hence resistance for title acquisition. The Katikkiro of Buganda has always emphasized that the major causes of the current land disputes and wrangles are mainly attributed to weakness in police which fails to make follow ups on evidence reports yet the judiciary relies on them, weak land laws, limited judges in the judiciary and increase in the population and corruption among government officials, but not the Mailo land issue as most people think.
Buganda Land Board is not scheming to grab people’s bibanja as it has been argued in a way that aims to tarnish the institution’s reputation. It should be noted that lease titling does not start with the campaign but rather has been in place and continues to ensure harmony and enhancing value through proper registration and survey. Other institutions including the Anglican Church, Catholic Church, Muslim Supreme Council and Government among others all still give leases on their land.
Why ekyapa mu ngalo?
- There has been an increase in bibanja theft leading to increased land disputes due to lack of demarcated boundaries.
- Lack of clear land documentations which define ownership
- The need to meet proper physical planning needs for urban authorities to approve development plans.
- Rising need for accessibility to financial services for development and personal growth.
- Increased developments, which have led to, the need for title ownership in order for development plans to be approved.
- Need for valuable rate compensations more than a kibanja owner in case of a Title ownership.
Concerning renewal upon the expiry of the lease, BLB acknowledges the fact that there is a special relationship between the Kingdom and people on Buganda kingdom land. Under this relationship, the Kabaka offers a maximum of 99 year leasehold term and a minimum of 49 years to all tenants on kingdom land for those who wish to acquire leasehold titles. This special arrangement includes an automatic renewal clause upon expiry that can be ignored if the lessee expresses lack of interest of renewal before expiry. During the period of expiry, the lessee maintains his/her status until the process of renewal is completed. The kibanja owner will be expected to pay annual busuulu as assessed by the Lands Ministry and will still enjoy protection by the landlord.
A free hold title cannot be issued on a private mailo hence no free hold exists on another. If land was sold and freehold given there would then be no more land for future generations. Kabaka’s land is only granted leasehold for sustainability so that even the future generations can also benefit from the land.
There is no need to worry about refusal for renewal because Buganda Kingdom is composed of people who need land to survive, hence BLB cannot refuse to renew such a lease unless there has been breach of the contract.
From the above therefore, one can tell that it is quite important to grab the opportunity for every kibanja owners to take advantage of the campaign to acquire leasehold certificates of title at subsidized rates.