Buganda Land Board, NFA Feud Over Forest Reserve Top story

1966 Views Luweero, Uganda

In short
Ernest Bagonza, the head of Enforcement National Forestry Authority, says the forest reserve was gazetted in 1932, adding that there is no way Buganda Kingdom can claim ownership.

Buganda Land Board and National Forestry Authority are feuding over the ownership of Mbale Central Forest Reserve in Luweero district leaving more than 200 tenants in fear. Mbale Central Forest Reserve seats on a piece of land measuring 1208 hectares found in Butuntumula Sub County in Luweero district.

Last year, Buganda Land Board claimed ownership of Mbale Central Forest Reserve. The land board claimed the Mbale Central Forest Reserve is part of its restituted properties following a memorandum signed between President, Yoweri Museveni and the Kabaka, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi. 

It went ahead and charged each of the 78 people utilising the land Shillings 100, 000 as a registration fees. Recently, National Forestry Authority-NFA also claimed ownership of Mbale Central Forest Reserve. The authority picked several people utilising the land for alleged encroachment on the reserve. 

NFA also stopped all the tenants registered by Buganda Land Board from planting crops and developing the land as it embarks on a tree planting campaign. Ernest Bagonza, the head of Enforcement National Forestry Authority, says the forest reserve was gazetted in 1932, adding that there is no way Buganda Kingdom can claim ownership.

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Salim Zimula, the Kakabala parish LC 3 councilor, says the tenants have been seeking clarification on the ownership of the land from Buganda Land Board since their registration in vain.
Zimula adds that Buganda Land Board could have collected the registration fees from tenants illegally and must refund it.

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Wilson Kabira and Jimmy Tamale are tenants on the disputed land. According to the duo, despite paying money to Buganda Land Board they are yet to see a title from the monarchy confirming ownership of the land. The affected residents led by their councilor have threatened to besiege Buganda land board offices in Luweero should it fail to refund their money or confirm ownership of the land.

Efforts to reach the administrators of Buganda Land Board in Luweero were futile as they were busy preparing for the visit of the Kabaka, who expected to visit the district today. Alice Muwanguzi, the Luweero Resident District Commissioner says she intends to summon Buganda Land Board and NFA officials after the Kabaka's visit to present proof of ownership of the land to clear the air on the rightful landlord. 

Muwanguzi say this will also help in management and conservation of the forest reserve by the rightful owner. In September this year, the Land Ministry canceled the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom's land title for Bugoma Forest Reserve in Hoima District. 

The two-square mile land at Buhaguzi in Kyangwali was the center of controversy between Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and National Forestry Authority (NFA).


About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.