Land Disputes Overwhelm Sembabule RDC's Office

1663 Views Sembabule, Uganda

In short
Mathias Kintu Musoke, the Sembabule RDC, says his office is struggling to mediate the land disputes some of which are threatening to turn violent. Musoke says seven out every ten matters that are presented to him since he took over three months ago are land-related.

 Land disputes have overwhelmed the office of Sembabule Resident District Commissioner-RDC. 

The office is currently handling close to 130 land cases from various parts of the district, some of them involving hundreds of people facing eviction. 


The cases majorly involve disputes over family land, grazing land, boundaries and overlapping leases. The disputes pit prominent businessmen against residents.

Some of the key figures embroiled in the land disputes are Elli Muhumuza, the Sembabule LC5 chairperson who is battling communities around Bigo-Byamugenyi archaeological sites, the Ntuusi Sub county chairperson, Emmanuel Kamihingo and residents of Booma, the Lwemiyaga County Member of Parliament, Theodore Ssekikubo and former State House employee, Godfrey Tandeka.
 
 
Mathias Kintu Musoke, the Sembabule RDC, says his office is struggling to mediate the land disputes some of which are threatening to turn violent. Musoke says seven out every ten matters that are presented to him since he took over three months ago are land-related.

 
He notes that the weaker parties in the wrangles are afraid of going to courts of law or allege cheating. Musoke says his investigations show that most of the land disputes are fueled by influential figures in the district including politicians, prominent businessmen and area land committees that connive against weaker parties.
 

 
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Musoke, who operates without a deputy, says he has also discovered that several people hold fake titles that were fraudulently issued with the aid of area land committees.

 
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He has says besides sensitizing communities about their land rights, the District Security Committee has made it a habit to review all court orders before they are executed.

 
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Our reporter found 68-year-old Rehema Nakate and her daughter, Takhiya Nalebega, both residents of Katwe village in Lwebitakuli Sub County seeking help from the RDC's offices following their dispute with a money lender over land.


The two told URN that they decided to seek the RDC intervention after losing hope in other mediation channels, which they perceive to be corrupt and impartial.
 
 
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The land disputes also dominate the cause list before Sembabule grade one magistrate's court. Twenty six out of the 34 cases listed for January were land related.