Lukwago also said that there is no political will to protect the public land in Kampala, which is fast disappearing. Apart from KCCA not having a clear database of the public land in the City, Lukwago said, a lot of what existed for public benefit has been allocated to individuals.
The Kampala Capital City Authority, Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has criticized
the Uganda Land Commission for allocating land to different individuals and
entities in Kampala yet they lack the mandate to do so. Different from the Kampala district land board which
is mandated to hold and allocate public land, Lukwago explains that articles 238
and 239 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda mandate the Commission to hold and
manage land on behalf of the public but not to allocate it.
He was speaking at the first Land Management and Administration
conference by the Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA at Mestil Hotel on
Wednesday. He said that since the Commission has assigned itself the role of
allocating land, it has ended up allocating land in wetlands and to single individuals
who after acquiring it purport to sell the same back to the government soon after
at a hefty cost.
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Lukwago also said that there is no political will to
protect the public land in Kampala, which is fast disappearing. Apart from KCCA not having a clear database of the public land in the City,
Lukwago said, a lot of what existed for public benefit has been allocated to individuals.
He made reference to land belonging to schools like Kitante Primary School and
Shimoni Demonstration School, which were allocated to private individuals. Shimoni was relocated to
pave the way for the construction of a 5-star hotel although a business center with
shops and office space was constructed instead, while Kitante had 10 of its
acres of land allocated to a private doctor to construct a Women's fertility clinic.
Lukwago expressed dismay that such deals are often facilitated
by President Yoweri Museveni who at his discretion issues land to private
individuals at the detriment of the general public and the close former owners
of the land. The Lord Mayor said that this is partly how people end up holding
freehold titles on public land in the city center.
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Kampala grapples with challenges related to the management
and administration of land. The existence of slums, dominantly on public and
private mailo land, the degradation of the environment especially wetlands and
drainage channels, and the limited road infrastructure that is overburdened by the
over four million day and two-million-night population of Kampala.
Flavia Zabali Musisi, the Head of Geographic Information
Systems at KCCA identified several reasons that affect the proper management and
administration of land in Kampala. One of the reasons is that KCCA lacks
property access to land records from the Ministry of Lands,
despite the Land Registry office of the ministry being located at the KCCA headquarters.
She said with this, they are unable to know who owns land in Kampala, how much,
what do they with it, and whether it is developed or not.
Musisi further pointed to environmental degradation
propagated by individuals and companies sometimes protected by other government
agencies rendering KCCA unable to take any deterrent action to ensure that the
ecosystem is not interfered with. She said there are several parties owning
plots in preserved areas such as wetlands and Lake Victoria.
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Musisi identified the issue of land ownership as a
block in their efforts to properly manage land for the development of the City.
According to the KCCA data, 34 percent of land in Kampala is public mailo, 30 percent
private Mailo, 24 percent of lease leasehold, and seven percent freehold while five
percent is covered by Lake Victoria.
A trained physical planner and Urban Specialist,
Musisi said that KCCA doesn’t own significant land if any to carry out
development projects such as the construction of schools, hospitals, or decent housing
for slum dwellers. She said that sometimes, the authority is unable or
delays setting up developments because it should first acquire land which is
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On her part, Naome Kabanda, the Ag Director of Land
Management at the Ministry of Land identified the politicization of land as a major
challenge. She said that apart from the committees charged with land management
being appointed politically, the qualifications required are insufficient to assure
the public of competent people occupying those offices.
She also hinted on the obsolete laws including provisions
such as one requiring an individual processing for land to facilitate financially,
the area land committee to do its work. This, she said opens room for the public
to exercise authority over the land committees which are also focused on the
money rather than where the land they are allocating is located.
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The KCCA Executive Director Dorothy Kisaka said the conference
marks just the beginning of the inter-ministry and agency collaborations to ensure
proper land utilization, management, and administration in the city. She said
Kampala cannot attain the dream of being a smart city unless its land is
properly managed, a clear physical plan implemented and different
infrastructural development set up in the city.