President Yoweri Museveni has cautioned landlords against grabbing land from tenants describing the action as illegal.
The president’s statement followed an appeal by Edirisa Sseddunga, the chairperson of Uganda National War Veterans Association calling for the president’s intervention to stop landlords from forcing tenants to surrender part of their land to them. Sseddunga said that the deals have left people landless.
The latest wrangles in Luweero involves one Paul Ddiba, a landlord at Kawumu village who is accused of grabbing land belonging to over 100 tenants in the guise of offering them free land titles. Ddiba owns over 400 acres of land which resident’s claims he grabbed from them.
Another landlord Swaibu Yiga is also accused of leaving to 200 families landless after grabbing land covering six villages in Kapeeka Sub County in Nakaseke. Residents say that Yiga coerced them to surrender part of their land to him in exchange for land titles.
President Museveni observed that there is no way a landlord can force a tenant to surrender land without his consent adding that such deals are not provided for in the Constitution and in the Land Act. He said that the landlords have provoked him and those who have grabbed land from tenants will be forced to return it after the Land Commission which he appointed completes its inquiry.
He was speaking during the 28th Heroes Day Celebrations at St Augustine Catholic Parish Grounds in Zirobwe Sub County, Luweero district.
Luweero District Member of Parliament Lillian Nakate says that the affected tenants many not know that there are no laws that forces them to surrender land to landlords. She however called for action to stop landlords from forcing tenants to surrender land without negotiation.
Alex Ssemwezi, a tenant who lost eight out of 20 acres to his landlord Swaibu Yiga at Balatira village in Nakaseke says that they want the government to make the Land Fund available to them so that they are able to fully own the land.
Ssemwezi says that landlords ask for high rates for tenants to purchase the land which many of them cannot afford.
Another tenant, James Mubiru says inaction against landlord could trigger violence.
This year’s Heroes Day celebrations were held under the theme; ‘self-sacrifice is the singular heroic pillar in nation building.
The day honors persons who sacrificed their lives to better the lives of Ugandans as well as those who have given dedicated service to the country over the years. These include among others, men and women who lost their lives during the NRA-led guerrilla war between 1981 and 1985 in the jungles of Luweero.
During this years celebrations, 363 Ugandans including artists, soldiers, Policemen, Politicians and Civilians were awarded various medals in recognition of their contribution to the Nation.