First Zimbabwe, now Uganda -
British land-laws and anglican-law-based constitutions
created havoc everywhere the British set foot in Africa
Britain to Help Tenants Pay Off
New Vision (Kampala)
10 March 2008
UGANDA and Britain have agreed to establish a fund to enable
tenants buy land from landlords.
"The Uganda government and that of the United Kingdom will
establish a joint intergovernmental committee to work out
modalities for the setting up of the land fund, which will enable
tenants to buy their plots from the landlords," said a statement
issued by the Presidential Press Unit yesterday.
The deal was reached between President Yoweri Museveni and the UK
Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, after they discussed the thorny
issue of land that has sparked heated debate in Uganda.
The meeting was held at the official residence of the British
Premier at 10 Downing Street. Museveni and Brown agreed that the
joint committee handles the task expeditiously "because the matter
During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala
last year, Museveni proposed to Brown that the British government
contributes to a land fund because the colonial administration
created the problem of tenants and landlords.
The current Ugandan law provides for a fund that enables tenants
to buy the land they occupy. The process started in Kibaale
district. The 2007/08 budget provided sh3b for the purpose.
In a further attempt to protect tenants from illegal eviction by
landlords, the Government has proposed a new law.
The Bill is opposed by Buganda Kingdom, which argues that it is
tantamount to grabbing land from landlords.
On the other hand, it has received support from Bunyoro Kingdom,
particularly Kibaale district, where the majority of the people
are squatters on land owned by the Baganda who acquired it under
the colonial rule.
Currently, tenants cannot mortgage the land in case they want
financing for investment because they do not have land titles.
In his budget speech last year, finance minister Ezra Suruma said
16,0000 ha were purchased in 2005/06 using the land fund.
The Government has also sought to resolve the long-standing land
question by compensating the landlords.
Museveni, accompanied by his wife Janet, is in London on a
three-day working visit as the Commonwealth chairman.
Last evening, he attended prayers at Westminster Abbey to
commemorate the Commonwealth Day, and was scheduled to meet the
Queen, the head of the Commonwealth.
Today, Museveni will assume his office at Marlborough House and
will address the Commonwealth high commissioners.
Museveni and Brown also discussed the post-election violence in
Kenya and agreed that the East African Community should assist the
parties there keep the peace.
"The President briefed Mr. Brown about the developments in Somalia
and the role of the Uganda peace-keeping contingent in the country.
Mr. Museveni said the transitional government must be inclusive
and that he was in contact with other groups.
He stressed that the international community must address the
future of Somalia," the statement said.
Brown said he was putting together a team of world leaders to
assist in reforming international bodies like the UN, IMF and
World Bank to make them more relevant.
On Darfur, Brown appealed to Museveni to use his influence to
bring on board rebel groups that have not signed the peace
He also commended Museveni for the economic recovery and
democratisation in Uganda.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa, Uganda's High
Commissioner to Britain, Joan Rwabyomere and the British Minister
for International Development, Douglas Alexander, were present.
In her Commonwealth Day message, the Queen highlighted the Nile
River as an example which illustrates many of the challenges
facing the "global environment as a whole" which, she said, "cannot
alone sustain our lives as once it did."
She said for all its impressive size, the water provided by the
river is barely enough to satisfy the 123 million people who
depend on its waters for survival.
"Our own attitudes to the environment, and the use we put it to,
may have consequences for people on every continent and for every
ocean and sea."
"Whatever we do, wherever we live," said the Queen, "our actions
in defence of the environment can have a real and positive effect
upon the lives of others, today and into the future."
The Queen stated that those who pollute the least - particularly
in the world's least-developed nations - appear to be the most
affected by the impact of climate change as well being the least
equipped to cope with it.
Museveni said the causes of environmental degradation are well
known - failure to modernise the farming methods.
He added that Uganda was committed to the transformation of
society by providing clean water, renewable energy sources and
electrification of rural areas.