Category Agriculture


By Okot Nyormoi, March 13, 2015

In January 12, 2015, a land agreement was signed between the government, Madhvani, Amuru Community leaders and lawyers who drafted the agreement. The signing of the agreement touched off a storm of opinions ranging from outright rejection to complete acceptance. Since the dust has now settled down a bit and the focus has shifted on Apaa, it is time to reflect on why people reacted to the agreement the way they did.

To appreciate the variety of opinions, it is important to understand the context in which the Amuru land agreement was negotiated and signed. There were competing interests including the President of Uganda, the Madhvani Sugar Estate, the Amuru Communal Land Owners and political parties. Since for a variety of reasons, the process leading to the signing of the Amuru land agreement was not completely transparent and because the signing of the agreement was deliberately staged in Rwakatura of all places, it could not escape from arousing intense suspicion and scrutiny.

Ordinarily, government is supposed to build and maintain infrastructures such as roads, medical facilities, schools, electricity, governance etc. However, for over 20 years northern Uganda witnessed the complete opposite. The NRM government marginalized the region in every way possible including war, looting of livestalk, incarceration of up to two million people in horrendous conditions in concentration camps, and misappropriation of funds intended for rehabilitation and reconstruction. When the NRM took over the government, President Museveni was reported to have vowed to teach the people of northern Uganda a lesson they will never forget. This is what appears to have given birth to marginalization of the north.

History informs us that this marginalization appears to be rooted in what President Museveni penned in his thesis in 1971 at the University of Dar-es-Saalam.

“To transform a human being into an efficient, uncostly, and completely subservient slave, you have, as a pre-condition, to completely purge him of his humanity, manhood, and will. Otherwise, as long as he has some hope of a better, free future, he will never succumb to enslavement. To become an efficient instrument of oppression, you have to radically de-humanize yourself by forgoing many qualities that are normally found in balanced human beings. You purge yourself of compassion, altruism, consideration of other people’s suffering and the capacity to restrain your greed….”.

Amuru very much mirrors the situation that the young Museveni envisioned in 1971. Having created conditions of abject poverty coupled with police restricted political freedom to organize, the Amuru community is rendered extremely vulnerable. Under such conditions, land vultures are convinced that Amuru communal land is ripe to be had. The NRM government tried different tactics to grab as much of the land as possible. It used the military in the 1987 forced evacuation of the land in the name of security, deception by General Salim Saleh’s 2003 proposed Security and Production scheme and the fraudulent allocation of 40,000 hectors of land to Madhvani for a sugar estate. Furthermore, the government via the Wild Life Authority used force to chase people off their ancestral land in Apaa. Government is also using the Ministry of Land and Urban Development to redraw the boundary between Amuru and Adjumani Districts allegedly to accommodate land sales to foreign investors. However, the Amuru community with the support of other communities found the resolve and strength to resist all these schemes to grab their land under the pretext of paying big money in land sales and promises of bringing quick developments to the under-developed area.

While the community’s resistance to the whole sale land grab has slowed down the process, a new political development has emerged since the NRM/A bush war of the 1980s. During the 5 year bush war, the NRA/M derived its support from southern and western Uganda. In contrast, because of the war, northern and eastern Uganda did not support the NRM government. However, as unfulfilled promises soared in the south and west, the NRM government began to lose substantial parts of its political support. Besides, when the Lord’s Resistant Army (LRA) relocated itself away from the north and east, it removed the element of fear that the government was using to extract support from the south and west. As a result, the 2011 election, as revealed by the likes of General Sejusa, the NRM lost to FDC, but was stolen by massive rigging by the NRM government.

The 2011 election sounded an alarm to the NRM government that it can no longer rely on the west and Buganda for holding onto power. Although the NRM government expected a massive support from the north and east as an alternative to Buganda and the west when the shooting war ended, it was disappointed by the low support it got in the 2011 election. Nevertheless, even if it is assumed that the NRM can always claim victory by bribing and rigging elections, the larger than life ego of the leader remains unsatisfied. It is still yarning for acceptance by people from the north and east, which so far has been justifiably denied.

Another important motivation for acquiring Amuru land is what may lie beneath the surface. It is believed that there is oil and other minerals in Amuru. Therefore, the scramble for large tracks of land may be fueld by the black gold and other minerals.

The government push to secure land for the sugar estate in Amuru is now being driven by both oil as well as a shift in the political fortune of the NRM government. This is why the government has adopted a somewhat softer approach. For example, it accepted to abide by the court injunction against any forceful eviction of people from Apaa in Amuru District, albeit temporarily. It also agreed to delay the construction of the Madhvani sugar estate pending the outcome of the court appeal of the 2012 ruling lodged by the Amuru land owners.

In spite of the softer approach, it is not hard for the people to see why the government is pushing so hard to secure the land for the sugar estate. As they say, bad habits die hard. The President has once more applied deceptive divide-and-rule tactics to extract an agreement. First, during the negotiation, the government announced plans to survey the land as if it was already a done deal, long before the community negotiators had a chance to report to the community. Expectedly, this backfired because it showed bad faith.

Worse still, the government employed a divide and rule tactic to lure 3 out of 5 community leaders to sign the agreement before negotiating the details of the conditions under which the land is to be provided for the sugar estate. Consequently, it raised the questions of legitimacy of the agreement. It is by knowing the political history of the NRM government that one can appreciate why President Museveni is pushing so hard to acquire large tracts of land in Amuru District.

By resisting land grabbing, the people of Amuru are showing President Museveni that they still have hope for a better and free future and that they will never succumb to enslavement. True and sustainable development can only occur with the consent of the people, not by force.

The tragedy unfolding in Libya has consequences beyond Libya and Africa


The tragedy unfolding in Libya has consequences beyond Libya and Africa for that matter. I hope the Italian security services are screening those boat migrants because word out is that the ISIS monsters have released criminals and mixed them with their sympathisers and given them access to Europe. Yes for every ten people one could be an ISIL mole planted to go to Europe and cause damage. So if Italian and European security agents fail to do a thorough interrogation things could soon very bad in Europe. In plain English, ISIS is using boat migrants to transport its members to European capitals to cause havoc.

What ISIS is doing is similar to what Fidel Castro did during the Mariel boat ride. He emptied Cuban jails and gave safe passage to criminals to Miami. Find out what happened in Miami after. Crime skyrocketed as rape and murder hit the roof.

On as serious note it is time for African countries to put together strong military force to go and stabilize Libya. The rebels could only win with NATO bombing. Talk about a solution to problem gone terribly wrong. Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and some Sub Saharan African countries need to come up with a 20, 000 strong force to go and liberate Libya before it goes the Iraq way. If Liyba became another Somali, things could very bad in the region so time to act.

Italy in particular and Europe in general may very son rue their actions in Libya. The genie is out and the monsters have their sights on Italy on the water. ironically, it is mostly Italy rescuing them and taking them to Europe. Notice how they operate mingle with genuine refugees. Well Italians will very soon find out the fruits of their scheme to bring democracy to Libya.
Please do not answer but think about how many sleeper monsters have made their way to Italy as refugees to be activated at a later date.

Talk of a moral dilemma facing Italy.

WBK via the UAH forum

Agriculture can be Boosted in Uganda – the deal

Bananas being cooked, and usually they are tucked in with banana leaves and steamed...beautiful taste. This Matooke prepared this way is called 'emeere ebobedde. Or etooke eribobedde' in Luganda.cooked matooke is referred to as emeere...although that is a collective term for all foods. But in Baganda most people refer to matooke as the mere and the other foods by their names. If there is no matooke on the menu, then people will say that there was no food. Meaning nothing worth mentioning.

Bananas being cooked, and usually they are tucked in with banana leaves and steamed…beautiful taste. This Matooke prepared this way is called ’emeere ebobedde. Or etooke eribobedde’ in Luganda.cooked matooke is referred to as emeere…although that is a collective term for all foods. But in Baganda most people refer to matooke as the mere and the other foods by their names. If there is no matooke on the menu, then people will say that there was no food. Meaning nothing worth mentioning.

Forget NAADS and bring the peoples cooperatives back to grantee quality and access to inputs: funding, warehouses and processing machines.

Uganda can become a net ecological food export to four continents. Here is the deal.

1. Total Urbanisation of Uganda with cooperative food stores for food stuffs produced in Uganda.
2. Uganda Government getting involved in food export through European franchises (super markets and distributors).

Uganda and East African countries will have to seek out European big supermarkets and beg them, to allow East African food items to have special shelves in their supermarket chains.

If they agree – then there will be no need to spend money on marketing, creating distribution and supply chains.

The state of Uganda should then set up or buy warehouses in New York; Brussels alternatively Frankfurt; Stockholm, Dubia and Mpigi.

a. New York can supply the rest of North America and Canada.

b. Brussels or Frankfurt is ideal to supply the rest of mainland Europe.

c. Stockholm is well suited to supply Nordic countries, Russia and Baltic countries.

d. Dubia will supply Middle Eastern Countries and Asia.

Mpigi warehouse is a collecting centre in Uganda before dispatch to the world.

All the above cities are well connected to Entebbe with daily flights lest Uganda fails to secure cargo planes – Uganda Airlines – Cargo.

Uganda then should buy 3 cargo Hercules C-130 /Antonov AN-124 planes (for passengers and cargo)and set up 4 distribution centers in North America, the Middle East , Europe Main land and Nordic Countries. Tokyo can be added on the list

I do not know about the logistics of such huge planes landing in Europe on a regular basis from Africa.

Mukwano, Maganjo, Jessa, Uganda Diary Corporation, Britania, Riham which are typically and wholly Ugandan should be given incentives and called upon to work with the government, Norway government, which is already on ground in meat processing, and other European regulatory food inspection to see if these entities, can work together to export selected fresh food stuffs and packed food items to these warehouses for distribution to respective geographical regions.

Southern Sudan will be ideal to work with Uganda in establishing commercial farms extending into Northern Uganda on specific and selected products on demand in Europe and the Middle East. Remember Europe wants ecologically produced food items.

Makerere, Busitema, NARO food science technologist must be involved in all sections of the project.

Uganda food exporters would also benefit from this arrangement that might take Kenya by storm if well thought out and implemented in 8 month.

The University agricultural programs must change with every student working with five rural farmers right from his or her first year to the last.

All people involved in agriculture as it is in Denmark and Sweden must undergo basic agricultural training – certificate or diploma.



There is no country in the world even with strong laws (read respect for property rights and thus attractive to foreign investment) which can create enough jobs to absorb the 40% or anything close to what Ugandan families are producing. The population is a killer. It is a net burden on society and that includes land. The consumption power is very low. And is not about to rise. As far as I know no one is seriously talking about population because I was reminded in UAH Uganda is very far from its carrying capacity. May be.

Oil will not solve the problem. Go to Saudi Arabia and see beggars on the streets. No health care either. It is shocking but true.

Here is the truth: Uganda ‘s best hope to fight poverty and unemployment lies in the agricultural sector not industrialization. It goes without saying that a country that cannot feed itself can never dream of anything. You recall in Mbale to be exact North Mbale/Sironko the days when BCU was well run to buy coffee from farmers.

Those farmers were not poor. They spent some money on education for their kids, built better homes, got connected to the electricity grid, purchased consumer good, additional land and saved some money in Mbale or made investments. That is not true today especially in Buganda and Busoga. The situation in Mbale (really Sironko) is different in that even after BCU had survived the idiots who run it today almost killed it.

I recall BCU in the days of Mr. Mafabi and Mr. Magona ‘Kabindi’ was very successful and the pride of the town. Not anymore, but it at least survived unlike the other big cooperative unions in Buganda and Busoga.

I use Bugusuge in Sironko to illustrate another point. Poverty in Busoga and Buganda and Bunyoro is rooted in the insecurity in the land sector. The people in Bugusege have small plots, but they are secure. There is no uncertainty as to what will happen to their land or agricultural produce toady or tomorrow. Therefore they have an incentive to work harder. In Buganda and parts of Bunyoro where the folks are not sure of what tomorrow will bring on the land, they cannot take chances with crops like coffee anymore. Yes I am making the link between land insecurity in Buganda with rising poverty there.

Many have written in UAH with glee how parts of Buganda cannot feed themselves and how the food comes from Ankole and even Mbale. But have they ever wondered why? Is Ankole affected by rampant land wrangles? Is Ankole best with land uncertainty? No. You agree with me, do you not that uncertainty is not good for farmers. I am sure Kibaale despite its great soil is not a basket case. Why? Because of uncertainty about land

Teso is prone to uncertainly from the marauding Karamojong warriors. If the uncertainty can be mitigated or controlled, Teso will rise and shine again in agricultural produce. Therefore it is time to factor in the various linkages and land is at the centre of everything in Uganda .

Let me be clear: regions where there is land certainty are doing better. Poverty is contained. Regions with land uncertainty are reeling. Is it deliberate govt policy? Perhaps. But people are hurting. The farmer in Kibale is not going to plant coffee or plants that take long to mature. She will go for something she can harvest before the uncertainty sets in.

Farmers in regions with land uncertainty are like foreign investor who came to Uganda for a quick buck. They are not interested in long term or brick and mortar business to create jobs, no, they are after speculative investments which they can dispose of quickly in case of any signs of uncertainty.
Uncertainty in the land sector is harming our people and needs real solutions not gimmicks.

The most efficient solution to the land question is actually a land tax. But why is a land tax not being talked about? You know the answer hint: today’s largest land holders are not the off springs of the favored few in Buganda but members of the 1986 rags to riches class. Because they own most land, they are not prepared to consider the most efficient tools to the land problem.

Suppose the regime was to walk the talk and came up with a policy that anyone with 20 acres of land must pay a land tax on 75 or even 50 percent of that land. If you own 20 acres you pay taxes on 15 or 10 acres and so on. How much money do you think the regime would mint from land tax? It may even dedicate the tax revenue from land to the land fund to fund land purchases at reasonable rates.

I understand the land fund is empty. But they can find 5 billions here for Sudhir or 10 billions here for the crook from Bushenyi. With a dedicated land tax, the land question would fund itself towards an equitable and efficient solution. One of these days, I will share with UAH the 300 or so largest land holders in Uganda . The data is being compiled on the ground. But this much is clear: personal interests are harming policy making in Uganda . They do not talk about a land tax because it would affect them personally so they prefer to create uncertainty rather than deal with real issues.’


Of what value are 30 plus million people if you cannot turn them into a market?

We have a population of 30 plus million people, of what value are they if you cannot turn them into a market and then manufacture shirts to sell in the US ? We should create a company in Uganda to manufacture commodities that we can sell locally, and we do not have to raise the income of the people to a huge income but be able to sell at minimum 25 cents Canadian of worth to every Ugandan every month, you have a monthly income of 7.5 million dollars as an income. That is three Canadian dollars a year per Ugandan, that is all I am looking for. Now I am comming to Uganda for I have some thing sensible to do.

Few years ago as we were talking with one of my friends here, we decided to tap into Uganda , we looked at its weather and we loved it we looked at the clean water supply we looked at the population and we decided to go for it. We flew to Uganda to investigate what we were going to do, and the best option we saw was to start a poultry farm. We came home and wrote a proposal to a Canadian bank to finance the investment we wanted to do in Uganda . All numbers and projections looked good, for we wanted a farm that had the ability to manufacture its own materials. The bank approved a very massive loan to be given to us in phases. So because the loan was huge we wanted them to deliver it depending on how progressing was the investment. And they were fine with that.A first phase of money was released by the bank and we were ready to go.

But here was the problem.When you get a loan from the bank you have put your name on the doted line and a credit is a very important thing in this society, so you must be ready to repay the bank or you will be doomed for life. We left the money into the bank and we flew to Uganda again. We needed a secondary study just to make sure this thing is not going to bury us. If I am to fly out of Canada to come and stay in Uganda for an investment, we had to have a farm to produce a minimum of 50,000 eggs a day. That gives us a minimum of 350,000 eggs a week or 1.4 million eggs a month. And the question became very basic, can Ugandans consume 1.4 million eggs a month? And that is only an egg for a million and a half of the population of 30 million, a month. The answer is no they cannot do so for they are too poor to buy it. Most of those 30 million people have kids that get an egg as a medication for she is coughing but not for a break fast. Yes we can get the money yes we can get institutions to help us yes we can fly in even our own veterinary doctor who will come with all his medication yes we can buy our own land and build our own farm yes we can fly in the damn chicks, I can get a cargo 747 to fly in the chicks at a phone call. But what do you do with a million eggs a month? And yet when you look at that project it is very enticing for I can increase the eggs production and use some of them to a different by product so in essence I am looking at expanding from eggs production to another final product, but all these expansions need a market. And I was not willing to use Uganda for its cheap labor but sell the eggs out of Uganda no I might as well become white and abuse the population, this is a diet Ugandans need why not produce it and sell it to them?

We flew out of Uganda and crawled back to the bank manager apologized to her for her time we so wasted and begged her to retract the money from our accounts without a penalty.

AGOA was started in Uganda to manufacture clothes and sell them to North America . China Korea and India are manufacturing shirts and selling them in Toronto long sleeves at 5 dollars Canadian, and at that price you get a shirt with a tie. How the hell will an AGOA shirt sell in Toronto ? I love pants of Alex by Daniel, why? I have no clue but that is what I wear and they are now sold at 35 dollars a piece if you are buying many you can get them at even 25 dollars. A bed sheet of 800 threads you can get at 25 dollars. Just know where you are going to buy and you will laugh. How will AGOA produce clothes to sell in North America when North American stores and factories are closing? It is as silly a proposal as thinking that you can send out beans to Ghana and get out blankets, no you cannot do a barter trade in Uganda for Uganda government per say does not have huge farms to produce those beans and you cannot make international deals based on Mwami Mulindwa might grow a sack today and two sacks next season. Ugandans do not grow food to get foreign exchange they grow it to get local money, and when Uganda government started to collect the beans from people, Bateso changed from growing beans to millet, you see they can use millet to make Ajono and get cash. Think people and critically !!!

This is where you and I must beg the members of UAH of today to understand some very basic things, those 30 million people need an income, we must create jobs jobs jobs jobs jobs and with those jobs a Ugandan can live in Amuru but be able to eat an egg, for that will mean I can come to Uganda set up a poultry farm in Kiwoko, but get several trailers to supply the Gulu location which will sell the egg to the Ugandan in Amuru. Now when I set up the farm in Kiwoko that is when I will need the road of Kiwoko Luwero bitumized for I will be paying the taxes to maintain it.

We need to start to think critically !!



One of my key tasks on a major agricultural based program implemented in Eastern Uganda between 2005 and 2008 was to ensure that soil samples are taken and safely transported from the farms of beneficiary farmers as far as the districts of Manafwa, Mbale, Tororo and Iganga to Kampala in particular Kawanda Agricultural Research Station for analyses! This was long before Makerere University (Soil Science Department) began to popularize the mobile soil testing kits. Under the program, several poor farmers were facilitated to test soil samples from their farms in order to determine gaps in soil fertility levels and best crops suited to the areas.

It was during such noble Missions that one Soil Expert revealed to me that the stretch of the area along the banks of River Nile (the longest river in the world) particularly in Budondo and Mafubira sub-counties is not only a treasure to Busoga region but the whole of Uganda. This area (call it the ‘Promised Land’) is characterized by some of the best heavy loamy and fertile soils in the world dubbed as Nakabango Catena. They are generally rich in nutrients and usually between 0.15 m and 1.0 m deep.

According to a recent environmental impact assessment report submitted to the World Bank , ‘The general relief, climate and vegetation are very similar to that of the Mabira catena with which the Nakabango Series forms a complex at some points. The parent material of the pediment soils is derived from weathering products of basic rocks, amphibolite schists and dolerites which on weathering give rise to bright red or reddish brown clays’. The Nakabango soils are characteristically and exceptionally fertile and do support a wide range of agricultural crops.

No wonder, this area is a major source of most of foodstuffs especially fresh and organic vegetables and fruits supplied to most of the neighboring small urban centres and towns ranging from Bugembe, Kakira, Iganga, Njeru(Mbiko), Mukono and Kampala city. The most productive coffee farms and Madhivani sugar estates are also situated on these soils.

Budondo sub-county in particular is not only a birth place of the legendary and defunct ‘Busoga Growers Cooperative Union’ but it is also a home to the well-known Bujagali waterfalls that subsided as a negative consequence of the recent construction of Bujagali power supply dam.

With such natural endowments, huge productive potential and opportunities, a stranger would literally expect the area residents to be relatively well-off. On the contrary, majority of the smallholder farmers are greatly immersed in unimaginable biting poverty. The narrow, dusty and potholed condition of the Jinja-Bujagali road suggests that this area has long been cut-off from Government support services.

Most agricultural activities in the area are still rainfed. Different from their Egyptian counterparts, smallholder farmers in Jinja cannot make use of the many surrounding water bodies to irrigate their farms as Government (duty bearer) cannot afford them simple drip-line, underground and roof rain-water harvesting and irrigation technologies. These services are far-off from their dreams!

Furthermore, the continued poor quality agricultural extension and financial support services and complete lack of access to cold storage, agro-processing and value addition facilities have exacerbated their pathetic condition. As such farmers experience high post harvest and handling losses of agricultural output and cannot be cushioned against forced sales after harvest during periods of glut. Since young energetic farmers have resigned from putting this land gifted by nature to effective use, it is gradually but forcibly being grabbed by foreign white settlers and local venture capitalists.

Like most of the senior district civil servants unfortunately, the political leaders who are largely NRM party flag bearers including area Members of Parliament and Councilors prefer to comfortably stay either in Jinja town or Kampala city-far-off from their wretched voters.

Matthias Ngobi Miti
Butembe County, Jinja District



I have keenly followed the Mehta-Mabira story for some time and I am not one of those who will blindly support murdering ancient trees just for a little sugar. But I also know of an opposition leader whose ticket to State House was simply riots over the high price of sugar!

Incidentally, many ‘Forest Protection Crusaders’ only protect Mabira on Jinja Road but have destroyed their own smaller Mabiras, which were planted by their ancestors on the lands they have now turned into brick factories. They used their small Mabira forests as firewood to bake bricks…

I was doing a Mabira programme on STAR TV last year when an angry caller stated “let Museveni go away with his muyindi (Mehta) who came with him from the bush in 1986 to steal our land…” From this I belatedly learnt that most of the anti-Mehta fury was about a suspicion that he was NRM and came with Museveni from the bush! Aloooo!!!

In my Uganda today it would be naive to expect the older leaders of such rioters to tell their youthful, misguided brigades the facts because facts work against recruitment.

I stand to be corrected, but I have read that Nanji Khalidas Mehta came to Uganda in 1924. He settled where he is now with the kind permission of the British colonial authorities and the government of His Highness Kabaka Daudi Chwa.

Because Mabira is older than SCOUL, I am sure Mzee Mehta was permitted (encouraged, or even urged) to cut down several acres of trees to plant sugar. Therefore, Mehta and Mabira have been living in symbiosis as neighbours for 89 years. This relationship beats any possible links between Mehta and NRM by only 57 years.

Recently, Mabira got encroachers without permission from Uganda government or even Kabaka. Their impunity is based on the pigment of their skin and the number of votes they can cast. In less than a quarter of the time Mehta has lived beside Mabira, these blessed encroachers have made the forest gods gnash their teeth in impotent rage by murdering thousands of trees.

I have a photo of one Mabira campaign poster reading; ‘ONE TREE CUT, ONE INDIAN DEAD’ and the proud bearer of this genocidal message was standing next to two beaming Members of Parliament and a priest. When one Indian was murdered even before any tree was felled, these MPs and the man of God disappeared from the scene, (AS USUAL) leaving their misguided missiles to be harvested by the police.

Is our mission to protect Mabira from Mehta because he is Asian? Is it to protect trees from decimation except by our own? Are we protecting Ugandans from sugar to create catchment areas of sugar rioters?

Does anyone doubt what would happen if government ever tried to stop Mr X from baking his bricks with firewood from the ffene or even muvule trees in his kibanja, which were left there by his great-grandpa?

Let us protect Mabira from the Mehtas of this planet even as we protect our own few trees from OURSELVES. Only then will Environmental Protection thrive.


How could Land Commission, and Kampala Land Board miss?!

Buganda Kingdom's new building at Katwe to be opened on 12/10/2012

Buganda Kingdom’s new building at Katwe to be opened on 12/10/2012

There are a good number of laws in regard to and in particular to land use, human settlements, building structure placement, water, drainage, railway lines, road reserves etc, every permanent building structure by law must be connected to a sewer infrastructure. In other words KCCA will tell you were to place your sock pit – (sceptic tank).

Full application of these laws will make all and every single town in Uganda look like any America, European or a modern Asian city!

Now, in urban centres, it is KCCA that has to give a right to discharge of waste water. The water act for example does not allow discharge of waster water in fresh water streams, river or lake. The same applies to drainage or storm water.

In the electricity act for example, there must be 25 meters reserve that makes 50 meters diameter from High Voltage power lines.

The above applies to railway lines and road reserves. I remember it is a similar law that applies to sewer pipes. People have built in these reserves.

The water act is also supported with NEMA. That you can’t build less than 50 meters from a stream and 100 meters from a major river or lake.

The question therefore is how come that all the above laws could be violated by KCC management and technical team, Physical planning board, the Land Commission, and Kampala Land Board?

In order for the above laws to be render redundant at least the physical planning board must sit and decide on the fate of the said land development i.e. change use.

Did the physical planning board sit in regard to placement of garden city, nakumatt, demolition of shimon etc?!!!

Lawlessness rein and so is the misery in our towns and cities. Otherwise plan the towns and cities and make sure you follow the law – Uganda will be up there -light years away in the sky.

Former Kampala Mayor Ssebaana Kizito has categorically and repeatedly said, Kampala City Land was sold legally. I do also agree with him.

However, he should make clear this position lest people misunderstand him.

I’m also hopeful this too, is a position that could be supported by his predecessor Christopher Iga, Hajji Ntege Nasser Ssebagala and their respective Town clerks.

What Former Mayor Ssebaana Kizito is saying might mean:

1.That land adjacent to Uganda railway lines i.e. land at Lugogo rugby grounds and other types of land in a with similar infrastructure was sold with the consent of the defunct Kampala City council (KCC), Uganda railways the legal owner, the Uganda land Commission and indeed with the consent of the department for Physical Planning Board in the Ministry of lands, that consented to change of use!

2.That land under High Voltage Power lines through Mulago – Bukoto axis was sold with the consent of Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited, Umeme, Uganda Transmission Company Limited, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), and Uganda Land Commission under Mr. Mayanja Nkangi.

3.That Land which is adjacent to sewer lines and water pipers i.e. the one that pass through the Old Taxi Park, the Golf Course and Bunga where sold with the consent of National Water and Sewerage Corporation, NEMA and of course the department of Physical Planning Board in the ministry of lands, which consent to change of use and also the Land Commission under Mayanja Nkagi to whom land must revert and then reallocated.

4.That land along Lugogo bypass with multiple play grounds that have since been sold to developers, KCC mayors and their town clerks and council consented, that such land be sold with the consent of the Ministry of Education (should have had interest), that of Gender and Youth (should have had interest as Nakawa – Naguru residence and youth), National Council for Sports legal owners and through such consent, NEMA, National Road Authority, together with the department of Physical Planning Board in the Ministry of Lands, also consented to change of use and also Land Commission under Mayanja Nkagi to whom land must revert and then reallocated also consented!

5. That roads for example a road in Bugolobi which was built over, road islands and reserves i.e. those which had UMEME, former Uganda Telecommunication (Uganda Telecom Limited) and NWSC facilities, that all responsible organs of the state and agencies agreed to change of use, as provided for by the law and that indeed Uganda Land commission agreed to such change with the help of the department of Physical Planning Board in the Ministry of Lands.

6. That land adjacent to river streams contrary to NEMA rules and regulation was sold off with the consent of NEMA, NWSC and that indeed Uganda Land commission agreed to such change with the help of department of Physical Planning Board in the ministry of lands.

A similar scenario as in the above cases will apply, I will presume to placement or relocation of;

i. Shimon PTC and Primary School
ii. Allocation of Kololo high school land
iii. Garden City placement on Golf course
iv. Placement of Nakumatt a super market in a wetland and on a busy road side
v. Relocation of UBC land for Hilton hotel
vi. Displacement of part Nakivubo primary school
vii. Allocation of Nakivubo stadium to vendors and car parks

Daniel Bwanika
Nakyesawa Luweero.

Land Grabbing is turning Ugandans into ‘slaves’ in their own country

The primary – if not the only – responsibility of leaders – be it at the household, community or national level – is to promote and protect the interests and welfare of the people under their supervision. Any leader who breaches this social contract with the people – intentionally or not – should be removed from that role.

The British colonial administration should be credited with a wise decision to leave Uganda land in the hands of indigenous people and restricting by law foreign encroachment on this vital factor of production and source of livelihood. Whatever one does anywhere in the world will ultimately involve land. Therefore land has a unique role and value in our lives and we should protect it to continue to play that role for present and future generations. Countries have gone or threatened to go to war over land, however small or apparently useless. Governments and dynasties have been removed in part because of land issues.

In Uganda many of us still don’t take land seriously for various unfortunate reasons. First, there is this mistaken notion that working the land represents backwardness. Progress therefore means you abandon land and seek work in offices located in towns. The word village represents backwardness that should be avoided. Parents feel disappointed when their children fail to get office jobs and return home to earn a living through farming.

Second, during our school days, punishment for wrong doing – arriving late, failing to do homework, fighting other students etc – was to do work in the school garden. Thus, we associated agriculture with punishment and farming lost value. Even today students and graduates refuse work in agriculture because it is considered below their dignity. I have personally tried to hire students and high school graduates or dropouts to work on my farms in Rukungiri district without success. They don’t want to dirty their hands: agriculture is demeaning. Going to school means you de-link yourself from farming.

Third, NRM government has been encouraging Ugandans to go to towns. President Museveni is among the champions in this regard. In his speech titled “Evolution and Modernization” delivered on 2002-02-09, Museveni stated that “One characteristic of backwardness is to have more people staying in the villages than in towns. When you come to town, you hear leaders saying, ‘You go back to the village. Go back to the village to do what? There is nothing!” And many Ugandans have listened and heard the message and acted accordingly – drifted to Uganda towns especially Kampala. That is why the rate of urban growth is faster than for the nation as a whole. Museveni encouraged Ugandans to come to towns. The question to ask like he did regarding villages: You come to town to do what? There is nothing!

Rural-urban migration is reinforced by the concept of willing seller and willing buyer. Consequently, many indigenous Ugandans who own land are selling en masse and ending up landless and drifting to towns where they are unemployed. If there are no development prospects in the villages as Museveni stated, why are the wealthy in Uganda buying land like never before? Why don’t they invest their money in towns that Museveni favors instead of in economically useless villages?

In the ten point program, Museveni expressed concern about landlessness, noting that “Our immediate concern is the tens of thousands of people – or possible hundreds of thousands – that have been displaced by ill-thought out development projects or sheer illegal land-grabbing by businessmen or state officials using corruption. An outstanding example [is] the 15,000 people with tens of thousands of cattle that have been thrown out of Nsharara by the UPC regime in order to make the area a game reserve. Such people must be resettled on alternative land by the government” (Yoweri Museveni 1986). Note that Museveni didn’t suggest they be accommodated in towns.

To understand this you need to know that Museveni’s immediate concern when he became president was to find land for his Batutsi cattle-herding people scattered and squeezed in the Great Lakes region. That is why he specifically pointed out the 15,000 people with their cattle that were displaced by UPC government to create a game reserve. He needs land for them and since there is no unoccupied land, he has to get it from someone.

Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC where Tutsi live have high population densities and serious landlessness. To create land for them, Museveni came up with the idea that indigenous Ugandans who own land should abandon it and move to towns. This idea is reinforced by the notion of willing seller and willing buyer including of land.

Uganda indigenous owners of land are being encouraged (or tricked by mortgaging land for loans which they fail to repay and lose their land) to sell and move to towns and the cattle people who are well connected and have access to credit to buy it. That is why there is this paradox of indigenous Ugandans abandoning land because of limited development prospects and a rush to buy it by immigrants sometimes under cover of darkness. Another method of grabbing land is the provision in the 1995 constitution that allows free mobility, settlement and land ownership anywhere in the country. The third method is extension of municipality boundaries deep into rural areas disguised as creating a parliamentary constituency to increase people’s representation. Once land is incorporated into the municipality, it is owned by the council which can compensate the previous owner with ‘peanuts’ and sell land to the highest bidder, mostly a rich or well connected immigrant.

Through these three methods indigenous owners are losing land very fast to immigrant buyers. Batutsi are travelling all the way from South Kivu in DRC to Uganda where they end up getting in one form or another land by replacing indigenous owners or wild animals in game reserves. Some of land complaints in western region are arising from this influx of Tutsi from Burundi, Rwanda and DRC. Ntungamo and Toro districts are among those experiencing tremendous land conflicts. Authorities in such areas need to protect the land interests of their people or face the wrath of their subjects in a democratic way.

The leaders of indigenous people in parliament, district councils and lower levels must understand this paradox of encouraging indigenous owners of land to sell and settle in towns and the rich or well connected largely immigrants to buy it in large chunks. Any leader of indigenous people found encouraging his/her subjects to sell land should have his/her motives assessed. I wrote a long chapter on land in Uganda in my book titled “Uganda’s Development Agenda in the 21st Century and Related Regional Issues”. I identified the problems and made recommendations to solve them.

As I have written before, Museveni didn’t pick up the gun to save and develop Uganda. He picked up the gun to solve Tutsi problems in the Great Lakes region as an integral part of realizing the Tutsi dream by military or political means like through the East African political federation which Museveni and Kagame are putting ahead of economic integration, reversing the traditional order of regional cooperation. One of the methods of achieving their goals of land acquisition and Tutsi Empire is to impoverish and marginalize non-Batutsi people by making them landless or reduce them to subsistence farmers. That is what Kagame has done with Bahutu in Rwanda: “Hutus have been mostly forced back into subsistence agriculture” (Michael Mann The Dark Side of Democracy 2005 Page 431). As Museveni reported in his latest State of the Nation address 68 percent of Ugandans who are subsistence farmers were neglected, forcing them to sell land and drift aimlessly into towns.

UDU was created, inter alia, to disseminate information about Uganda’s political economy. In short how politics or policy decisions affect economic change and vice versa. Through our civic program in the media (radio, internet and newspapers some of our work is translated and published in Luganda language in Kamunye newspaper), we have shared a wide range of information to enable Ugandans take informed decisions. In this article we are trying to help readers understand why there is land grab and who is grabbing it. Indigenous owners are losing it mostly to connected and protected Batutsi buyers.

Land in Uganda has become by far the single most contentious topic. The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) issued a report covering July-December 2006. It observed that in northern and northeastern Uganda land ownership had become the most controversial issue. In central and western regions land has also become the single most controversial issue. Land has therefore become the number one issue at the national level that should engage the attention of all Ugandans especially people’s representatives in parliament, district councils and lower levels.

Land conflicts contributed to revolutions including in France, Russia, Mexico and Ethiopia. As Ugandans begin to understand the value of land, it must be treated with uttermost care lest it triggers rebellion or revolution. Uganda is sitting on a time bomb. We should diffuse it by pragmatic action than dismiss it as non-existent and continue business as usual. Uganda has changed and doing business as usual at gun point won’t work. Ugandans have understood their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and freedoms. They won’t rest until they have restored them. NRM should recognize this development and act accordingly.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU

In Uganda land is a vital asset, source of wealth and symbol of prestige

We are writing these stories not because we are driven by radicalism or assertiveness as some people have suggested but because we want to save a bad situation from getting worse. For those who care to know two worrying developments are taking place in Uganda – land grabbing by foreigners and inferior education for indigenous population. These developments are reminiscent of the recently ended apartheid system in South Africa where the indigenous black population lost most of the land to the minority white population and got inferior education. It took almost one hundred years of struggle, abandoning education, loss of lives and long term prison sentences from 1912 to end this unjust system but the effects are still being felt. Let us examine the land issue as it relates to Uganda.

When we were growing up in poor families in southwest Uganda we were told again and again that our future was in education and not in tilling the land, a profession left for those who failed at school. To drive the point home we were punished at home and at school for whatever wrongdoing by doing agriculture work in school or family gardens. So Ugandans developed a dislike for agriculture and by extension land ownership. Educated people distanced themselves from rural areas and most would not even think of investing a small portion of their income in agriculture or rural development. Village life was something to be avoided.

As towns grew even those who did not do well at school abandoned the land and migrated to towns to do all sorts of things but agriculture. Fortunately because colonial policy had prevented foreign land ownership in Uganda the abandoned land remained idle. However, the neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi and eastern DRC had high population densities, poor economic prospects and a repressive colonial regime. People from Burundi and Rwanda in particular began to trickle into Uganda since the 1920s looking for work. Bahutu were employed in crop cultivation areas in Buganda and Busoga; Batutsi found work where herding was the main occupation in all parts of Uganda. Some returned to their home countries, others stayed, acquired land and settled permanently. Because of a sizeable male migration, Buganda at one time had a sex ratio of male exceeding female. Normally there are more women than men. At independence in 1962 over 40 percent of Buganda population was non-Baganda. The next census should disaggregate indigenous and migrant population data to determine the relative contribution of each component to population growth.

Political disturbances since the early 1960s in Burundi, DRC and Rwanda resulted in massive refugees and cattle into Uganda. Thinking that this was a temporary phenomenon the refugees were accommodated happily on humanitarian grounds and allowed to settle temporarily with relatives or drift into the country wherever there was land. In south Kigezi and parts of Ankole land was already scarce, overpopulated and overstocked when the refugees arrived. The pressure on land and poor weather forced migration of refugees and/or indigenous cattle herders to northern Kigezi, Buganda, Toro and Bunyoro and beyond ending up in all parts of Uganda. As the land frontier closed, the new arrivals began to encroach on occupied land by direct purchase sometimes in a manner that was not straightforward. They have had easier access to credit facilities than many indigenous people and have been buying land in many parts of the country. Many indigenous Ugandans have lost much land for failure to repay loans in part because they did not understand the terms of the loans including interest rates and how land would be lost as collateral.

The introduction of foreign land ownership has developed into a major challenge since NRM came to power in 1986. Land became a source of wealth as export diversification gathered speed, cattle herding that require large swathes of land received priority over crop production in some areas and urban development ate into agriculture land. The liberal immigration policy has attracted many migrants especially from neighbors who have been facilitated to acquire land. As land became short, its value rose and the rich began to see it as a profitable investment. The government began to preach that the future of Ugandans is in non-agricultural work in towns. This was followed by sale of land to start business in towns. But most of the business failed. Without land and good education to find a job in non-agricultural sectors, many Ugandans have become landless and jobless. The incorporation of Uganda into the East African community without grasping the full implications of human and livestock mobility on land tenure and use has opened Uganda gates to settlers from other members of the community especially from those areas where population densities are high that land has become the single most contentious issue in Uganda’s political economy.

Incorporating large swathes of rural land into municipal boundaries has meant that land ownership and management have shifted from former rural owners to municipal councils that are offering land for sale to the highest bidder thus kicking former peasant and functionally illiterate owners out into the cold notwithstanding the so-called compensation. There are stories subject to confirmation that land in northern Uganda is being grabbed at such a rate that those returning from internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps have found themselves without land. They have no education to find job outside agriculture. They have become landless and jobless and a potential threat to peace and security especially as most of them are young. Some land has been allocated to foreign developers in circumstances that have left many questions unanswered. Some people with connections are obtaining titles for land that belongs to others and court cases are mounting but the poor are likely to lose the case because corruption has entered the judiciary in a big way and in some cases money has trampled the truth.

As Ugandans begin to understand and appreciate the value of land as life and an asset, source of wealth and symbol of strength and prestige, they are demanding to get their land back, reduce migration and stop land grabbing. As population grows from natural and migration sources land scarcity is going to get worse and struggle for it to intensify. Already the mass media is full of complaints about powerless people losing their land to those who are powerful politically and economically. This struggle represents a time bomb waiting to go off if the situation is not addressed without further delay. Those who believe that dissent will be suppressed indefinitely through the barrel of the gun or pushing Uganda into the East African federation are very mistaken. Land has become a bread and butter issue under any circumstances that discussing it does not require vague language but straight talk to drive the point home in order to find a lasting solution. The people of Uganda are getting enlightened and will not rest until they get what they want. Those who want to take Uganda back to the medieval period of feudalism or to conditions similar to the apartheid system however disguised need to think again. Putting much money into the military and torture houses to silence political and economic dissent is likely to turn out a very bad investment. We are saying all these things with the emphasis they deserve to avert a catastrophe not to incite an armed rebellion.

The international community has recognized the importance of small holder farmers as productive, efficient and friendly socially and environmentally. Funds have been allocated to help them increase productivity and commercialize agriculture. Uganda authorities should access this money to help small scale farmers instead of replacing them with large scale cultivators and ranchers that are largely labor saving and therefore do not create jobs for the displaced peasants and their children contributing to youth unemployment in excess of 80 percent.


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