DECEMBER 16, 2009: New Land Policy Almost Done

New Land Policy Nearly Done
By Emmanuel Gyezaho and Ismail Musa Ladu

The government has heeded incessant calls for a policy covering Uganda's troubled land sector by issuing the National Land Policy, a process that has taken a staggering 26 years to achieve.

Lands Minister Daniel Omara Atubo presented a draft of the policy framework paper yesterday in Parliament, copies of which were placed in the pigeon holes of all MPs. Mr Atubo told Parliament that the policy "seeks to offer political, social, economic and technical solutions which are practical to Uganda's land question that has defied legislative norm over the years."

Daily Monitor has seen a copy of the 74-page document, which spells out the government's stand on several critical land issues, including the return of land of traditional rulers and the Kibaale land crisis.

Provides Answers

The policy attempts to provide answers to the Kibaale land question, where native Banyoro and mainly immigrant Bakiga are contesting for land and political power, and says the government will "commit sufficient resources" to purchase mailo interests of all absentee landlords in Kibaale. The policy also discusses Buganda Kingdom's quest for its lost properties and says government will "expedite the negotiation process for the return of 160 square miles of official estates, 1500 square miles of forests and '9000 square miles' to the Kingdom of Buganda."

News of the government's commitment to returning Buganda's property will be welcomed by the kingdom's officials, who have led a four decade quest for the properties. Mr Atubo said the government would conduct a consultative workshop on Thursday, to enlighten lawmakers on the new draft policy...