EDITORâ€”President Museveni says that land should be given away free of charge and there should be â€œno question of rentâ€. Before we can celebrate though, we need to know that the Presidentâ€™s statement largely refers to foreign investors who happen to have large sums of money.
One question remainsâ€”where does the President hope to get free land from? His advisers should inform him that thousands of Ugandans are landless and millions are squatters. Surely if there is free land in President Museveniâ€™s hands or in the hands of Government, then these citizens should be the first beneficiaries before anyone thinks of investors.
According to the Presidentâ€™s calculation, once the land is offered for free, the money would be recovered through creating jobs for Ugandans! This may not necessarily be so because some of our investors are the worst employers, offering Ugandans peanuts. Besides, the investors might prefer to give senior positions in their companies to people from their homelands and saving big chunks of their proceeds in foreign banks.
With 45% of the salary being taken up by â€˜Pay As You Earnâ€™ tax, another percentage taken by the Local Service Tax and another going to NSSF, surely at the end of the day, the ordinary Ugandan is not benefiting much.
While the whiteman was exploiting our people, he at least ensured that they had effective service delivery. Today, so many Ugandans are landless because land is the most expensive commodity in the country.
Perhaps if Ugandans owned land, then at least the governmentâ€™s role would only be to empower then to reap the most out of it. If we put the Presidentâ€™s remarks into religious context, perhaps it would make a lot of sense. Land is a free gift-from God. In this sense, every Ugandan deserves a free piece of land not only for investment, but to lay his head. Mb<
Deo Tumusiime Kabwende
Where is the free land?