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NAMUGANZA ASSURES PEOPLE OF KARAMOJA ON LAND EVICTIONS 

By Mulengera Reporters 

Over the weekend, Parcis Namuganza, one of the State Ministers at the Lands Ministry, traveled to Karamoja sub region where she presided over the public ceremony to hand over customary land titles to ordinary people representative of the following communities: the Tepeth, Pian and Pokot.

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The beneficiaries to whom customary land titles were handed over came from communities of Tepeth in Moroto, Pian in Nabilatuk and the Pokot in Amudat. The handover function took place at Tapac Sub County Headquarters in Moroto District. Namuganza noted that the majority of land in Karamoja, which is held communally under customary tenure, lacks formal registration leading to conflicts and illegal eviction of the local Karamojong population.

It was in a bid to mitigate against this that deliberate efforts have had to be made by the government of Uganda to register the land rights of these weaker groups and indigenous communities. The overall aim was to enable them to assert their rights against competing claims and avoid any further land injustices to citizens.

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Namuganza emphasized that the Ministry would accelerate the registration of land under the Communal Land Associations (CLAs) in Karamoja in order to issue customary titles within the next 2 years. She also said that the Ministry of Lands Zonal Offices would use modern and scientific methods while demarcating customary lands so that each title contains not only the traditional boundary markers but also the boundary GPS coordinates.

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The Lands Permanent Secretary Mrs. Dorcas Okalany thanked the CLAs for agreeing to have their land mapped and registered. The CLAs that collaborated in the exercise included Naita Atepeth CLA for the So-Tepeth community in Moroto district (whose land measures 32,439 acres), Kailikong Nathinoyit CLA for the Pian community in Nabilatuk district (whose land measures 46,052 acres), Narisae CLA for the Pian community in Nabilatuk district (whose land measures 40,602 acres) and Achorichor CLA for the Pokot community in Amudat (whose land measures 6,311 acres).

Namuganza informed the communities that the titles had undergone a number of technical checks to confirm that there are no other titles issued relating to those areas and the process to migrate them into the LIS was gratefully already underway.

Namuganza re-affirmed the NRM government commitment to register customary land as the best way of protecting customary land and addressing the historical land injustices in Karamoja. This commitment by government is in the NRM 10 Point Programme. Specifically, Point 8 of the NRM 10 Point Program promised to protect and register customary land for the local indigenous communities in order to avoid land grabbing and illegal evictions of people in Karamoja.

She sounded a warning that these customary land titles must be respected by all including investors, those prospecting and mining companies given exploration licenses. “Stop making life and livelihoods for the Tepeth, Pian and Pokot difficult. The time is over for evicting communities using mining licenses. A mining license cannot be a land title and should not be used to evict communities, destroy their community kraals and forcefully ask them to move away to make way for your own interests in their land,” said Namuganza adding that such persons or institutions must seek the consent from the registered customary land owners to access and use their land as provided for under the law.

She thanked the 3 District LGs, especially offices of the CAOs and the Sub County technical heads (who are also the recorders, the Area Land Committees, physical planning committees and the  demarcation teams etc) for their generous involvement in the verification and confirmation of the boundaries.

Other partners whose contribution the Minister recognized included the Moroto Catholic Diocese, Caritas land desk, GiZ (KAM), Karamoja Development Forum (KDF), Resource Rights Africa and LEMU. She pledged Ministry support to process more titles as part of the broader transformation of these communities to protect them and ensure that they benefit from the land registration exercise in the money ecomony under the Parish Development Model initiative. Some of the guests who attended the handover function included MPs from Moroto, Nabilatuk and Amudat, Bishop Damiano Guizzeti of Moroto Diocese and the RDCs from Karamoja sub region. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at mulengeranews@gmail.com).

 

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