Government of Uganda has undertaken a series of animated legal and policy reforms in regard to property rights and resource governance since 1995, with the intention of bringing about fundamental reforms in rights, tenure management and control of land. Uganda’s Constitution (1995) and the Land Act (1998) redefined land rights and attempted to resolve old conflicts by providing an institutionalized framework for land management with decentralization as a key feature of that framework.
The National Land Use Policy approved in 2008 provides guidelines for effective use of land for development, a draft (4th) National Land Policy was released in September 2009, and a controversial Land (Amendment) Bill was passed in November 2009. Given that legal background therefore, as a concerned citizen, I picked interest in the Rwamucucu Sub County Market Landbwrangle that has been ongoing since 2017 where it had hitherto seemed like the locals had no hope to recover their market land.
The Rwamucucu Sub County market is on public land that is bordered by Kangondo road and sub county headquarters at the top, the late Katabazi at the bottom and Muhanga Kisizi road on the right. Initially, the land was under Kabale District Local Government until 2017 when Rukiga was given District Status hence automatically transferring it to Rukiga District Local Government.
It should also be noted that the land is seated on approximately two acres and has been in use by the community, serving not only as a playground for government schools but also as a public market. It was on a sad note however, that in November 2017, the community was in appalling state because of unscrupulous individuals by the names of Mr. Gakyaro David and Mr. Byandusya coming to their market, demarcating the market land and offloading building materials claiming to be rightful owners.
This perplexed the community, hence seeking for political leadership in the area to intervene. Since then, several facts have been embraced to un cover the mystery surrounding the Market land in which the said owners claim to have bought the land after a court attachment arising from court case Civil suit No. 119 of 2012 against Rwamucucu Sub County, though court documents indicate that Rwamacucu subcounty already had a payment schedule with its creditor that was stretching to 03/12/2017 and it was out of these factual circumstances that proved to the Chief Magistrate in Kabale to rule the case in favour of Rwamucucu Sub county Local Government.
Besides the dismay engulfed around the land, the sub county had as well made a deposit of Ugx 6,500,000 to court for the same particular transaction and any sort of sale before the 3/12/2017 would not only be irregular but also fraudulent. Basing on that back ground, the Member of Parliament for Rukiga County Hon. Herbert Kabafunzaki took lead in trying to rectify the disconcertment of his electorate on the ongoing market land saga. In order to circumvent known substantial challenges attached to Rwamucucu Sub County market land, Hon.Herbert Kabafunzaki approached several authorities like the Chief Magistrate Court’s in Kabale, President’s office, the Commission of Inquiry into Land matters headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire and most recently Parliament of the Republic of Uganda to help ensure that his electorates get justice for their market land which has been symptomatic of myriads of land issues that cropped up from 2017. He raised the matter on the floor of Parliament on 09th May 2019 under rule 30 of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda on behalf of the people of Rwamucucu Sub County, Rukiga District.
With a conscious of hope, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament correctly saw the urgency of the matter and tasked the Minister for Lands to take up the issue and report back to Parliament in two weeks’ time. If the minister of lands adheres to the deputy speaker’s directive to the book, it will help defuse the dilemma that the people of Rwamucucu Sub county are embedded in to extricate their emotions over their market land.
By Dickson Namisi