MEMBERS of the Buganda Youth Council (BYC), the Kingdom Youth Parliament have strongly disagreed with President Yoweri Museveni move against the Mailo land tenure system saying it’s unconstitutional and it targets Kabaka’s land which they have vowed not accept.
Museveni, while giving Heroes day speech on June 9th, 2021 severely disapproved of the Mailo land tenure system that was adopted in the post 1900 Buganda era mentioning that the system was an ‘evil’ one and that it was not anywhere else in Uganda.
This land system is very common especially in Buganda region where the Kingdom, Kabaka and institutions like churches, mosques, schools, hospitals and individuals own chucks of land under the Mailo land tenure system.
Museveni has turned into a crusader against the Mailo land tenure system and many see his gospel as anti-Buganda.
According to Museveni, this will end the rampant land evictions and protection of the common people to own land.
He is also interpreted as one targeting Buganda land to be taken over by the central government as one of the resolutions of the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire land inquiry.
In a Statement from the Buganda Youth Council dated June 13th, 2021, Kingdom youth unanimously disagreed with the Head of State, expressing their dismay with regard to the said statements, “As we find the same to be purely political with no legal basis at all.”
A statement signed by Mr. Baker Ssejjengo, Chairperson Buganda Youth Council reads; “Mailo land is constitutionally recognized under Article 237 of the 1995 Constitution and Section 3 of the 1998 Land Act (as amended). Currently, the state no longer controls land ownership in Uganda.”
Quoting Article 26 of the Constitution, Mr. Ssejjengo said it provides for people’s rights to own property either individually or in association with others.
“Therefore, Ugandans have a constitutional right to own land, be it Mailo, freehold, leasehold, or customary.” Says Buganda Youth council.
On president’s fears about the rampant land evictions, the Kingdom youth Parliament reasoned that the Land Act offers some protection to tenants on registered land.
“These are known as lawful or bona fide occupants who can acquire a certificate of occupancy on the land they occupy and if they so wish, they can negotiate with the registered owner to be able to acquire title to the same.” Reads their press statement, saying tenants pay an annual nominal ground rent but this does not deprive them of their land rights.
They said, tenants by occupancy also have a right to pass on their tenancy through succession.
BYC however noted that, “These rights have on several occasions been violated as we have witnessed some controversial evictions of tenants not only in the Buganda
region but also in other regions of the Country.”
Giving the ever lasting solution to land disputes, Buganda Youth Council talked about;
● Adoption of the federal system of governance.
● Sensitization of citizens about their land rights.
● Enforcing and implementation of the land laws in existence.
● Making provision for prompt land dispute resolution mechanisms countrywide.
● Devising practical mechanisms to curb corruption within the responsible
stakeholder offices like the Uganda Police Land Protection Unit, the courts of law, among others.
“In the premise, we implore all concerned stakeholders to desist from any sinister motives to de-enfranchise land owners in Buganda, which constitutes the most prime land for commercial and public interests.” Reads BYC Statement.
FEDERALISM, RETURN OF BUGANDA PROPERTIES & PAYMENT OF THE OUTSTANDING RENT ARREARS
Buganda Youth Parliament has continued to advocate for the adoption of the federal system of governance, the return of Buganda property as well as the Government’s clearance of the outstanding rent arrears amounting to over Ugx. 215 billion. Several engagements have been held with government in this regard to no avail.
“We believe the recent rhetoric against the mailo land tenure system in Buganda is aimed at swaying the Baganda from these demands.” Noted Buganda Youth.
EMPLOYMENT OF THE CHILDREN OF THE RICH (NRA DESCENDANTS) IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
The President while delivering his State of the Nation Address informed Ugandans of his novel approach to fight corruption by recruiting affluent descendants of the National Resistance Army (NRA) as he alleged that such individuals have no ‘home poverty pressures’.
Buganda Youth Council don’t agree with Mr. Museveni. They instead refer to Museveni’s way of seeing things as being discriminative and segregation as basis for employment and deployment or access to service at any level.
“This is tantamount to breach of the fundamental rights and freedoms as enshrined in the 1995 Constitution, particularly Article 21 thereof that is against discrimination on grounds of inter alia social or economic standing.” Reads BYC Statement.
They revealed that, this practice has also been vivid in several government agencies and authorities where majority of the lead appointments are awarded to only sons and daughters of selected NRA fighters.
“We therefore advise that all job placements and appointments should be based on merit and the equal opportunities principle should be emphasized.” Says BYC adding, “It is also vital for the public to understand that corruption is a moral concern, an individual whether affluent or destitute can still be corrupt as long as he or she is morally wanting. It would be totally incorrect for the President to intimate that all the NRA descendants are morally upright and incorrupt.”
DELAYED JUSTICE FOR ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS
Buganda Youth Council is also dismayed by the delayed trial and determination of the criminal cases instituted against all the political prisoners, most of whom are from the Buganda region.
“Their constitutional right to bail has also been frustrated on unreasonable and legally unfounded grounds. We therefore call for the speedy trial and subsequent release of all the said prisoners as justice delayed is justice denied.” Reads their Statement.
BYC appealed to the general public to adhere to the set Ministry of Health SOPs in a bid to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. We further appeal to the government to devise means of providing free testing services to the public and also ensure that appropriate medical care is given to those in isolation centers.
“As a measure to overcome the virus, BYC asked government to expedite the procurement of more doses for the Covid-19 vaccine. May God protect the Kabaka!” Signs Mr. Ssejjengo Baker, Chairperson, Buganda Youth Council.