Squatters on Tooro Kingdom Land to Get Leases Top story

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In short
Bernard Tungwako, the Tooro Kingdom Prime Minister says that issuing of titles is one way of ensuring security for those occupying the land and also help the kingdom ascertain how many people are using the land and who they are.

Tooro Kingdom has embarked on registration and issuing of leases to people occupying its land. The move follows several cases of illegal evictions and conflicts on the land.

The kingdom has vast chunks of land in Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa and Ntoroko districts. However, some of the occupants on the land have been illegally evicted by individuals who claim ownership.  

Last year the Uganda Land Commission allowed Tooro Kingdom Land Board to issue out leases or certificates of occupancy. Currently occupants on kingdom land in rural areas pay an annual fee of 5,000 Shillings and 30,000 Shillings for areas within the towns.

Bernard Tungwako, the Tooro Kingdom Prime Minister says that issuing of titles is one way of ensuring security for those occupying the land and also help the kingdom ascertain how many people are using the land and who they are.
 
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According to Tungwako, through the exercise, the kingdom will be able to know which land belongs to the Kingdom, King and the Queen Mother.

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Olimi Rutabalengya, Tooro Kingdom Lands Minister, says that the kingdom was also prompted to embark on the registration of all residents occupying its land following pledges by President Museveni to return the Kingdom's assets.
 
Tooro is currently in negotiations with central government to have all its assets returned. They include forest reserves, land and buildings amongst others. The properties reverted to government in 1967 following the abolition of Kingdoms by the Obote I government.
 
However despite the fact that cultural institutions were restored 23 years ago, most of their assets are still under the control of the central government.

Rutabalengya adds that the registration of occupants doesn't mean that the occupants will be evicted. He says the kingdom only wants to know who sits on her land so that their stay can be legalised.

Francis Mugenyi, a resident of Karambi Sub County who has lived on the kingdom land for close to 40 years welcomes the exercise. He however says that the registration fee should not be exorbitant.

For several years, the control of resources especially land has been one of the major causes of conflicts in Tooro.  Chunks of land have either been leased or sold off under unclear circumstances and the funds not accounted for.

In 2011, the Queen Mother Best Kemigisa sold a huge chunk of Kingdom land to the government as at the cost of 4.5 billion shillings. The transaction between Kemigisa and the government was questioned by Members of the Kingdom Parliament, the Orukurato, and Members of Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee.

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.