On land issue in Uganda

By Admin

Land is an object of and, from nature. It is favourable for animals, plants and human beings. Plants and animals use it according to how nature relates them to it.

Kajabagokarusoke 350x210

By Kajabago-ka-Rusoke

This demands an academic, objective and straightforward analysis with neither fear nor negative favour.

Land is an object of and, from nature. It is favourable for animals, plants and human beings. Plants and animals use it according to how nature relates them to it. Human beings happen to make tools and tackle its nature through an act of labour dominating other beings. They, therefore, become economic above other beings.

The economic nature of being is characterised by labour plus ownership of tools of labour as property. These economic beings now own three main factors for their being and continuity and those are land, labour, and tools.

Time immemorial in the history of a human family as an economic institution all these put together have been the basis for human economic and social continuity. Every family is entitled to land as a fundamental object of labour. Labour should belong to all those who are in need of cultivation, grazing or, manufacture without any hindrance at all.

However, as technology advanced and fell in the hands of a few, those few happened to grab land from those who were less technologically advanced and dominated them. They turned women into slave-maids and men into slaves. This is a category of people who are made to work without pay under those who have conquered them. This system should not be allowed anywhere in the world.

Then there arose another system whereby again a few better-armed class of people conquered others, took over land from them and began making them pay rent for whatever they produced for their lives on that land. This exists in Uganda today whereas it was not there before Uganda became a British colony.

Gifts given to kings before colonisation were voluntary but not based on coercion. But when Britain conquered Uganda, the British capitalist class tipped the conquered kings with pieces of land referring to those pieces as “mile land” whereby all those occupying those areas would be made to pay rent to kings and chiefs who were given those pieces. These kings lost any sense of dignity because they had been conquered and being given what actually had been theirs.

So they allied themselves to the conquerors and began exacting rent from their own people in favour of a negative system introduced by colonialism. Up to now, their descendants are not ashamed of what the colonialists did against the people but instead continue with it. Funnier enough a claim for patriotism in Uganda is made to rhyme with feudalism, capitalism, imperialism, and neo-colonialism in the country. There can never be patriotism under those systems. This is not academic.  The country’s constitution is neither academic nor patriotic because of allowing those systems as correct.

On top of feudalism, there are big business people who want large-scale economic production and in order to do that, they are eager to chase people away from land which those people are using for grazing and cultivation in order to maintain their families. In Nakaseke, for example, somebody was closing down 350 homesteads for personal economic interests against the majority of those citizens. In Mukono, the church is trying to close down 22 homesteads because it wants to start an experimental farm.

Large-scale establishments are good for the country but the nature of each should be considered in terms of how it affects people occupying that area where it must be established. It should not be haphazard, adventurous and harmful.

The occupants must be explained to as to what that project shall be and for what it is intended on behalf of the country so that they also appreciate what is going to be for their country.

Then assure them that their families shall not be made to suffer because of this and, that arrangements are being made to provide them with another area where they shall go and settle in order to continue looking after their families as usual and that any damage inflicted on their assets shall be compensated. This kind of approach will create a good atmosphere within which people will appreciate national development without themselves harmed either materially or spiritually.

The population in the country should be educated about the difference between personal property and private property in the means of production because these are a different one from another. Everybody in the country has a right to own a house plus an area where to cultivate or graze.

That is personal property to which everybody is entitled. But it is not correct to find that someone has confiscated a complete square mile for himself or herself against other villagers who are interested in establishing what that person himself or herself is interested in establishing. There should be fair distribution of land according to sizes of families.

Villages would be better if peasants were taught about creating co-operative societies within which they are taught about better methods of production and distribution of their products whereby they would even be made to earn better and more incomes rather than richer individuals grabbing land from them.

Where many villagers sleep in very poor types of houses, the party and the state should have been very much concerned over this, so that arrangements are made to establish housing estates in the villages for those who are poorly accommodated but at the same time leaving them with required pieces of land respectively from which they usually make a living.

Housing estates should be supplied with a proper water system, electricity, Dispensaries, clinics, ambulances, playgrounds for children, videos, swimming pools, cinema halls, plus community halls where they would meet from time to time for looking into their village affairs and welfare.     

It should be noted that there is plenty of land in the country which is not occupied. This should be given to girls and boys who are unemployed whereby they should be trained in and taught about production in terms of agriculture, animal husbandry, tailoring, carpentry, on the basis of cooperatives.

This is one method of undermining unemployment. There is no logic in someone claiming land as his or hers when there is nothing being done there but simply because it is Mile land offered previously through colonialism.

Land offered by and through colonialism should be nationalized without any compensation whatsoever. But those who bought from those who were offered by colonialism can retain the chunks they bought but which should also not be allowed to oppress the ordinary citizens of villages. They should just settle according to sizes which match with their domestic personal demands like others.

On the whole, the party in power is supposed to reflect the views of all its members who are represented in the state apparatus. Then the state apparatus is expected to reflect the views of its party members. If therefore the leadership of the party and the state cannot reflect the views of the people they represent how are they relevant to the people?

In that case, therefore, the leadership of the party and the state are pro-feudalist, capitalist, imperialist, neocolonialist and subsequently are not patriotic. And since the landlords are few and the tenants are more, there is no democracy in the country at all.

The writer is a senior Presidential adviser on Ideology