Plant some crops on the land so it does not look vacant.
By Cissy Apiso
There are rampant cases of land grabbing in the country, both in the rural and urban areas.
The issues are so widespread that President Yoweri Museveni last
year appointed a sevenmember commission to deal with land disputes, led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire.
The commission was set up to inquire into the effectiveness of the law, policies, processes of land acquisition, land administration, land management and the way land is registered in the country.
Earlier this year, a widow identified as Maria found her land encroached on by unauthorised persons. Maria and her husband lived in Bugolobi, but owned land in Bbunga, another Kampala suburb.
Unfortunately, when the husband died, she spent about six months without checking on the land. And when she finally did, she found builders constructing a structure on her land. She took the matter to court and, fortunately, won her land back.
What to do
Kezekia Ddamba, who deals in property in Kampala, urges landowners to lodge caveats on their land to prevent illegal possession.
He adds: “A caretaker can also plant some crops on the land so that it does not look vacant or attract illegal possession.”
He says a landowner can inform the leaders of the community about his property.
He or she can approach the local council chairperson of that area where his land is located and exchange contacts.
This eases communication between the landowner and the leaders of the area so that in case there is a problem, the landowner is informed.
Ddamba says it isimportant to do frequent checks at the lands office about the land.
The landowner can find out whether the land is registered in their name and verify the identity and other details of the seller.
PIC: Maintain a presence on your land by farming on it
The local council chairman of Nantabulirwa in Namanve, John Orono, says people should avoid leaving their land idle because it gives land grabbers an opportunity to take advantage.
He encourages landowners to grow crops on their land or get a trusted person to grow the crops. This shows that the land has an owner and prevents any illegal encroachment on it.
Maureen Atwebembeire, the head of client care at Kampala Capital City Auhtority (KCCA), says: “It is important for landowners
to get a caveat because it stops unauthorised persons from transacting business on the land.”
Muwanda Nkunyingi, a land and immigration consultant, says people should be observable users.
Here the landowner should show physical notice on the land, by putting the land in use.
The landowner can also consult neighbours or the local council leaders so as to get details about the land.