The Minister for Lands Judith Nabakooba has issued guidelines to the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) on implementing of President Museveni’s directive on land evictions.
In his directive, the President commanded that 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.
The President added that if this is not done and evictions take place, he 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.
The President requested His Lordship the Chief Justice to prevail on the Magistrates and Judges from violating the Constitution by illegally evicting people in collusion with land grabbers.
The President also directed the Minister of Lands to inform the Attorney General about abuses by Judicial officers so that legal action can be taken on them.
In her address on March 11, Nabakooba said: “I therefore want to call upon the District Security Committees to take note of the President’s directive. 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.”
She said that the District Security Committee must ensure no land eviction takes place especially on unregistered or land with tenants on it.
“For those paying Busuulu, the rent shall remain basic or nominal because the occupants cannot afford economic rent. This rent was gazetted under Statutory Instrument 2011 No 55,” Nabakooba said.
Below are some of the responsibilities that RDCs must fulfill.
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.
“I call upon the RDCs to be vigilant and give me evidence based information on all eviction related matters,” Nabakooba said.
“I call upon everyone who feels they are being violated or threatened to reach out to your local leaders for protection against destroying your livelihoods and causing landlessness in this country.”
She encouraged the public to find their RDCs and tell them about those threatening them with eviction so that necessary action is taken.