Following President Yoweri Museveni’s directive banning all land evictions without the consent of the District Security Committee, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Judith Nabakooba has now issued guidelines that must be followed by Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) while executing their roles under the land sector.
RDCs are the heads of District Security Committees.
Addressing the media in Kampala on Friday, Nabakooba said all RDCs must advise the Minister responsible for lands on all eviction related matters reported in their respective districts and should comply with implementing the Presidental ban on land evictions.
“Illegal land evictions are happening everywhere and in all regions of the country and have turned life in the villages very difficult.They target the poor, the voiceless, and the uneducated communities, disrupting their livelihoods and hampering Government programmes aimed at empowering the citizens. On several occasions, these evictions have destroyed property and led to loss of innocent lives,”Nabakooba said.
The Minister added that Uganda has always had laws criminalising such land evictions but perpetrators have been ignoring all the existing legal procedures.
“This is why the President came up with a new directive…. I want to thank His Excellency, our President and Commander in Chief, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who has come out with a Presidential directive that puts an end to this unfortunate practice.”
“In his directive, the President said no eviction should be allowed to take place in a district without the District Security Committee, chaired by the RDCs, meeting, looking and consulting directly the Minister of Lands.If this is not done and evictions take place, the President will take action on all the Members of the District Security Committee, except the UPDF representative because he/she may not know the substance of the issues involved.”
Nabakooba further called upon the District Security Committees to take note of the President’s directive to avoid falling on the wrong side of the law.
” I will be issuing a circular to all RDCs and CAOs on implementing this directive. I have already addressed all RDCs on this matter.The District Security Committees must now adjust their Terms of Reference to include implementing the Presidential Directive.The committees must also ensure no land eviction takes place especially on unregistered or land with tenants on it.”
On the other hand, the Minister called upon everyone who feels they are being violated or threatened over land evictions, to reach out to their local leaders for protection against destroying their livelihoods and causing landlessness in Uganda.
“Find your RDCs and tell them about those threatening you with eviction so that necessary action is taken,” she urged.
Meanwhile, below are some of the responsibilities that RDCs must fulfill, according to Nabakooba:
To advise the Minister responsible for lands on all eviction related matters reported in their respective districts;
To comply with implementing the Presidental ban on land evictions;
To monitor, inspect and report on a monthly basis the land acquired by large scale land investors in order to ensure that land being taken over is not occupied by tenants or customary land owners;
To carry out the function of District Mediation as provided for in the National Land Policy, 2013 as a means of curbing all evictions.
To draw the attention to the Ministry of Lands on any divergence from or noncompliance with Government policies, laws and Presidential directives on land evictions.
Evictions from critical ecological systems, forest reserves and wetlands shall be handled as per cabinet directives. The law provides for a period of 6 months and so measures should be put in place not to cause distress, but move out gradually under proper supervision.
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