Uganda: Museveni stops land evictions during festive season

President Yoweri Museveni has stopped the eviction of bonafide land occupants by landlords and their agents in Buganda and Bunyoro regions.

The president’s directive was communicated to all Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) in the targeted regions, in a December 20 letter by Haji Yunu Kakande, a secretary in the President’s Office.

Mr Museveni says no evictions should be carried out in the two regions especially during the Christmas and New Year festive season.

“It is because many unscrupulous individuals use the holiday period to conduct illegal evictions well aware that government officials are out of station and cannot intervene in [the] protection of lawful tenants,” the letter reads in part.

In the same vein, Lands Minister, Ms Betty Amongi has directed local council leaders to resist the implementation of any eviction court orders without the physical presence of the issuing magistrate or judge.

The guidelines require local council chairpersons to liaise with the area land committees to record all court sessions that take place at any disputed land in their respective areas.

“When any eviction court order is presented to you, confirm that there was a court session at the locus quo. In the event that there was no visit of locus quo and the court order affects lawful and bonafide occupants, refer the court bailiffs to the Office of the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development for clearance,” Ms Amongi’s directives reads in part.

Ms Amongi also instructed police and RDCs to beware of third parties who buy land from banks and secure court orders to evict tenants without following the laid down procedures in the Land Act.

She directed that such people should not be given police manpower to execute any evictions without due clearance from the Lands Ministry.

“Where there is consent between the landlord and Bibanja holder on land sharing; ensure that the Bibanja holder retain a minimum of 50% of the land,” Ms Amongi’s guidelines add.

According to Ms Amongi, her ministry is working on comprehensive guidelines detailing procedures to be followed before conducting any evictions, which she says will be issued in February next to curb the emerging anomalies.

The directives come in the wake of the controversial eviction of hundreds of people in Lusajja village in Wakiso District a one Medard Kiconco to pave way for his investments.

The judiciary has since apologised that the affected people were wrongly evicted since the eviction order was “meant for another area”.

By Daily Monitor

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