Mengo Rejects Attorney General's Interpretation on Mailo Land

2214 Views Kampala, Uganda
The Buganda Government has described Government's position on the status of the 9,000 square miles of land as alarming and suspect. In a strongly worded statement presented to the Buganda Lukiiko this afternoon, Apollo Makubuya, the Kingdom's Attorney General, said Government would face resistance should they insist on holding onto Buganda's Communal land. Makubuya's statement was in reaction to the Central Government's stand on the 9,000 square miles of land which has become yet another point of contention between the two parties. Early this month Khiddu Makubuya, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs told Parliament that as of 1962 the crown land was estimated at 5,949 square miles. This was further reduced to 5,282 after Buyaga and Bugangaizi were returned to Bunyoro. Makubuya also said that over the years, controlling authorities had alienated land to individuals and companies in form of leasehold and freehold. He said that Buganda Kingdom could only get back the 9,000 square miles of land if they accept the Regional Government. But Buganda Government has hit back at the Central Government, saying its interpretation tantamounts to blackmail Buganda's Attorney General said accepting Regional Government would be of no consequence to Buganda since most of the land is now customarily owned by the people living on it. The Buganda Kingdom wants the Central Government to present the precise figures showing to whom and by whom the various chunks of land were alienated and on what basis. Buganda Kingdom wants Government to explain how it converted former public land into customary land and private freehold land without the consent of the people concerned or due compensation. In his statement to the Lukiiko, the Kingdom's Attorney General says that until the Central Government clearly maps out the area covering the former crown land using modern mapping technology, the figures presented by Khiddu Makubuya remain suspect. Buganda Government has also said Government's response to the Kingdoms position on the Land Amendment Bill 2007 does not address their concerns. Buganda's position is that the existing laws are sufficient enough to address the issues of rampant evictions of tenancy by occupancy. On Thursday this week, John Baptist Walusimbi, the Prime Minister of Buganda will present the Kingdom's position before the Parliamentary Committee on Physical Infrastructure and the Legal committee which are carrying out consultations on the Bill. DP President Ssebana Kizito who is a member of the Lukiiko said it was pointless for Buganda to continue engaging the Central Government since such consultations had dragged on for too long. Joseph Balikuddebe, a senior lawyer said Mengo was wasting time holding consultations with Government and instead proposed that Government convenes a National Conference for all stakeholders to address the issue of land.


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