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Kabaka to Museveni on mailo land; Why only land in Buganda?

Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II has said Buganda Kingdom will not relent on advocating for what belongs to its people including land.

Speaking at his 28th coronation anniversary ceremony held at Nkoni Palace in Lwengo District on Saturday, the Kabaka said it is appalling that whereas other areas too have land, it is only that in Buganda being targeted by different people.

“We condemn those who deliberately create a situation to derail us from reminding government on what belongs to us. We have heard many people discuss about land in Buganda and many have said it is curtailing Uganda’s development. This is not true. Those who say this want to weaken the kingdom of Buganda,” Kabaka said.

“Such things bring sorrow to our hearts and make us question why land in other parts of the country is not mentioned ( as it is with Buganda). Buganda does not or has never wished to split from Uganda, neither has it and will never kick other citizens out(of Buganda).Why is the Buganda spirit of welcoming everyone being misinterpreted as a weakness?”

The Kabaka whose words many have interpreted as indirectly responding to comments by President Museveni about Mailo land spoke in a seemingly angry tone, uncharacteristic of him.

He insisted that Buganda will not relent demanding for what belongs to the kingdom, as has been the case for the last 28 years.

“For the last 28 years, we have been at the forefront of demanding for justice, federal, land and our buildings. These and other things, we call themEbyaffe,” Kabaka Mutebi said.

“Í want to emphasize that we shall not relent in our quest forEbyaffethrough negotiations as we have done in the past. It has been 28 years while emphasizing this issue and we know it will be concluded in peace and love.”

Earlier this year, President Museveni castigated the Mailo land system that he termed as a bad land policy.

“It’s not anywhere else in Uganda. It is really very bad and not fair but some people support it. How do you allow these things to happen? Land owners should be entitled to full ownership of their land like elsewhere in Uganda. In Ankole, nobody can chase you away from your land. You even fear,”Museveni said during the heroes day celebrations in June.

The Mailo land tenure system is one that includes an inconstant taxation fee on land ownership and presumed squatters and has been practiced in Buganda for over a century.

However, according to the president, the system needs to be subjected to reforms.

“In Buganda, they have so many actors with each one saying this and that and it’s all against a small person. We shall see what to propose including on the issue of absentee landlords,” he said.

However, Museveni’s comments have not augured well with the administration at Mengo with many castigating the president.

The Katikkiro, Charles Peter Mayiga recently said the president’s comments on mailo land are misguided.

“It [mailo land] is predominant here but it is in Ankole, it is in Tooro, it is in Mbale. Mailo land is not only in Buganda,” Mayiga said in an interview with NBS television recently.

Mayiga said that the mailo land system in Buganda is ‘akin to the free hold system’ and with that, he does not see where the said ‘evil’ comes from.

“The only difference is that at the inception of the land registration under the 1900 Buganda agreement, the free hold tenure system conditions you to a particular purpose for which that land was being registered in your names,” Mayiga said.

“Land is very central, that is reason the clan head is called omutaka, it is in reference to land. That is why the Kabaka is called Sabataka, the head of clan heads. So there is a relationship between land and the way of life of a Muganda,” Mayiga said.

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