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A Buganda Land Board team, led by the Head of Operations Omuk. Bashir Kizito and included Cissy Kiyaga (Business Development), Wamala James (Chief Surveyor), Florence Nambooze (Chief Surveyor External), MrBakkabulindi (Mityana Branch Manager), Joseph Kimbowa (Communications Officer) toured   Mityana, Mubende and Kasanda to see the works of a GIZ project dubbed ‘Improvement of Land Governance in Uganda to increase productivity and small scale farmers on private-mailo land.’

This project arose from the mailo land impasse created by the 1900 Buganda Agreement which created landlords and tenants where the two groups have overlapping interests on the same piece of land.

There is thus a fit-for-purpose model of land demarcation in the districts of Mityana, Kasanda and Mubende where bibanja holders are mapped and given documentation of their plots. This mapping is done on land where the landlords and tenants agree to it.

 

The team started with a full-day workshop at the GIZ offices in Mityana where the hosts explained the genesis, objectives, implementation and benefits of the ILGU project.

The meeting was attended by the GIZ project manager Thorsten Huber, Commissioner Land Administration NaomeKabanda, lecturers from MakerereUniveristy, representatives from UCOBAC, Area Land Committee members from participating sub-counties, among others.

The team attending the full day workshop at the GIZ offices.

  Why the ILGU project

The BLB team was informed that the project is funded by the European Union and the German government, with GIZ acting as the implementing organization.The project was first piloted in two sub-counties of Myanzi and Kakindu starting in 2017. This is a project authorized by government and it is done in conjunction with sub-county leadership.

The main objective of the project is to ensure a peaceful and harmonious relationship between landlords and their tenants through creating transparency on land use and ownership.

The process starts by raising awareness through village meetings and engagement of opinion leaders and landlords. During these meetings, people are sensitized about mailo land tenure rights, roles, restrictions and responsibilities and the available means to secure these rights.

During sensitization, the landlords and tenants are told the possible options for harmonious living: these may include buying out, land sharing, leasing or application for certificate of title.

If the landlords and tenants on a given piece of land agree with the objectives of this project, then the team mapsindividual parcels to ascertain their acreage.

The mapping is done in conjunction with Makerere University who provide technical support (training of trainers) for the mapping team using what is known as the CRISP software. This software is considerably cheaper and easier.

 

The mapping team specifically includes a technical person who is preferably from the affected area but trained by the Makerere team, then there is a paralegal, a member of the areal land committee, LCI representative.

The mapping captures a satellite image showing the exact coordinates of the kibanja in question (this makes it easier for the kibanja to be surveyed in future). The map is then superimposed on an information form called the Land Inventory Protocol (LIP). This inventory captures all details of the tenant such as bio data,their neighbors, roads, developments on the land. They also capture a photo of the tenant with the landlord and neighbours to ensure authenticity.

This data is then taken to the sub-counties for safe storage. The captured maps are also displayed at villages for some days to ensure that the said plot actually belongs to the one claiming them.

When the due diligence is complete, tenants are issued with the LIP forms and the landlord with a map of tenants on their land. The team was taken to the field to see how the mapping is done.

 

The team in the field observing how the mapping is done.

With these documents, then the tenants can agree with the landlord to share the land, buy out, pay ground rent or apply for leases. Others agreed on ground rent of Shs 10,000 per year.

The team was informed that the pilot project was more successful in Myanzi sub-county where more than 5,000 parcels were mapped. This was attributed to the positive attitude of the sub-county chairperson Nsubuga Joseph-Mary. In Kakindu, on the other hand, there was less political will and the numbers of positive responders were far less!

The foregoing constitutes one of the project’s challenges – political interference. We were told that in places where politicians and some cultural leaders criticized the project, people also rejected it.

The other challenges include family conflicts, disagreement between landlords and tenants, landlords against landlords, etc.

Omuk.Kizito thanked the project managers for the innovation of fit-for-purpose mapping initiative. He related it to BLB’s incremental initiatives such as mass registration, mass surveying and mass titling. He re-emphasized the need for a good tenant-landlord relationship and noted that all BLB initiatives are geared towards that.

He applauded the LIP and references it to BLB’s Ebbaluwa Ekakakasa Obusenze. He noted that the kingdom, through BLB, would like to copy a few ideas from this project and incorporate them in their ongoing initiatives with the aim of securing tenancy for tenants on Kabaka’s  land. He said obtaining a LIP prepares one for a smooth transition to survey and eventually obtaining a certificate of title. In the Buganda case where there is a single landlord, he says this fit-for-purpose approach can yield dividends.

He noted that BLB is regulated by the ministry and works within the national laws for any service rendered.

GIZ’s Thorsten offered to provide any technical support to BLB whenever they need it.

The project is expected to end in 2021 but the implementers believe that it will be sustainable for government to take over and start doing the mapping at a small cost. The machines used for mapping are expected to be left behind and the local people implementing it can be taken up by government. The others are already in the system serving as area land committees. 

CERTIFICATES OF OCCUPANCY

The team also visited Myanzi sub-county headquarters where they were introduced to the members of the area land committee currently conducting the registration of bibanja holders to issue them with certificates of occupancy.

At least 700 people have applied for COOs. Information gathering is almost identical to the one used to issue LIP. Therefore, the presence of LIP has made it easier for government to issue COOs. That is why Myanzi is likely to be the first place in Uganda where the president will issue COOs to residents.

Awareness raising…

The team also attended an awareness raising meeting in Kasawo East sub-county where GIZ wants to activate another mapping project. The meeting included area residents, local council leaders, landlords.

The GIZ sensitization team taught residents about the land laws, rights and responsibilities and the importance of having their land demarcated for harmonious living with their landlords.

This being the first meeting, there were some critical voices from the crowds. Most landlords were also absent, but they sent representatives.

The local leaders however rallied the crowds to support this project because it can only benefit them.

Omuk.Bashir Kizito(holding a microphone) speaking at the community meeting organised by the GIZ team.