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Wednesday,November 14,2018 11:44 AM

Mailo land tenure unfair, says lands minister

By Pascal Kwesiga

Added 22nd June 2016 12:09 PM

Amongi says mailo land ownership is unfair and blames the colonialists for the challenges created by the land tenure.

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Amongi says mailo land ownership is unfair and blames the colonialists for the challenges created by the land tenure.

PIC:  Lands minister Betty Amongi says she will engage Buganda land board over the matter

KAMPALA - Lands minister, Betty Amongi, has described the mailo land tenure as an unfair way of land acquisition introduced by the 1900 pact between the British colonial government and Buganda Kingdom.

Under the agreement, the land in Buganda was shared between the king (Kabaka), his royal family, ministers and county chiefs.

Part of the land in Buganda and other parts of the country, however, was vested in the in the Queen of England (crown land).

Similar land holding system was introduced in Tooro and Ankole in the 1900 and 1901 agreements respectively. Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, which rebelled against colonialists, did not sign similar agreements with the British at the time.

In the pre-colonial times, land in areas that constitute Uganda and East Africa today was owned communally. The kings and tribal leaders held the land in trust for the people.

In Buganda, the people who had settled on the land distributed to the Kabaka, his royal family, ministers and county chiefs, were not recognized until after the 1927 riots.

The peasants were required to pay a specific amount of money ((Busuulu) and offer part of their harvest (Envujjo) from the land to the mailo owners. Upon payment of the Busuulu, the peasants would be given a certificate, guaranteeing them some sort security of tenure.

The mailo land ownership was consolidated after the enactment of the Busuulu and Envujjo law in 1928. In Tooro and Ankole, the landlord and tenant laws were enacted in 1937 to regulate payments of rent and the offer of part of the harvest by peasants to the kingdoms.

In an interview with local media on Wednesday, Amongi said mailo land ownership is unfair, blaming the colonialists for the challenges created by the land tenure. The minister said she will engage Buganda land board over the matter.

In an attempt to address what the new lands minister is now calling unfair distribution of land, in 1975, the then president Idi Amin decreed that land in Uganda belonged to the state. The land reform decree abolished the Busuulu and Envujjo laws.

Although, it was not effectively enforced, the decree remained in force until it was abolished by the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.

The Constitution declared that all land belongs to the people and maintained mailo as a form of land ownership. It restored freehold, leasehold and customary land ownership.

There are thousands on tenants on mailo land in Buganda. This has created serious challenges for the land owners and tenants. However, the tenants are protected from eviction by the landlords by the 1998 Land Act.

Despite enactment of laws to promote a harmonious coexistence between the landlord and tenants in Buganda, the relationship between the two parties remain acrimonious in some cases.

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