By Mary Karugaba and Moses Walubiri
KAMPALA - Parliament's appointments committee has approved the appointment of former state minister for lands Baguma Isoke as new chairman of Uganda Land Commission (ULC).
The commission is constitutionally mandated to hold and manage any land in Uganda vested in or acquired by the Government.
Baguma replaces the commission’s longest serving chairman, Jehoash Mayanja-Nkangi. According to sources, Nkangi’s two year term had expired “sometime back”.
Sources that attended the closed door meeting chaired by Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, said, that although questions about Baguma’s track record at the National Forest Authority (NFA) were raised, the committee still passed him.
“We spent a lot of time debating a number of allegations that were raised against him when he was still chairman NFA. Members raised issues to do with land allocation, timber and so on. But we still approve him,” the source said.
The committee also reportedly approved the appointment of the commissioners Janat Mukwaya, former MP Winfred Masiko, Ruth Alinyikira, Joseph Kasaija, Margaret Akello, Nelly Badaru, Johnson Okwil Okello and Charles Muhozi.
Mukwaya, the former Minister for General Duties in the Prime Minister’s Office, retired from active politics in 2011.
Baguma told New Vision that if approved, he will handle land matters basing on the laws of Uganda. “ULC does not make policies. Our instructions are in the constitution, Land Act and other land related laws. We are not coming with new policies but just to implement,” he said.
Asked about the rampant land evictions and irregular allocation of public land, Isoke said, “Our priority is publicizing land issues. When there’s land that needs to be given out, opportunity should be given to all and not certain individuals.”