By Zalimon Basighalha (Goodluck)
The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has conducted a public hearing between the Basongora Leadership Committee and the Busongora Community Land Trust (BLCT) over the ownership of Basongora Community lands.
This follows a letter dated September 24, 2021 written by the Basongora Leadership Committee requesting for the Ministry’s intervention to halt the registration and transfer exercise of all the Basongora Community lands into the Busongora Community Land Trust (BLCT) under the fictitious Busongora Kingdom.
According to the letter, between 1987 and 2004, the Basongora migrated to the Democratic Republic of Congo after being displaced from their ancestral customary grazing lands in the areas of Kayanja, Kyalanga, Rukooki, Muhokya, Bukangara and Rwehingo.
Upon their return to Uganda, the resettled Basongora were thus allocated land including Ibuga prison farm (1,400 acres), Ibuga Refugee Settlement Scheme (3,500 acres), Hima Army Production (3,500 acres), Mubuku Prison farm (5,300 acres), Karusandara (1,100 acres), Muhokya (1,000 acres), Bukangara and Rwehingo (17,000 acres) respectively, the letters reads in parts.
However the letter indicates that the subsequent failure to conduct the survey for the resettled lands in order to pave the way for the smooth transfer and registration of land ownership from the government institutions to the community, has compounded the problem of insecurity of tenure (occupancy) among the resettled communities.
Yesterday, both groups of Basongora community convened a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development seeking advice on the issue of the registered Busongora Community Land Trust. The meeting was held at the Mayor’s Gardens in Kasese town.
Among the key issues that were discussed in the meeting was the response of a letter that was signed by the Minister of State for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Sam Mayanja to the Registered Trustees of Busongora Community Land Trust notifying them of the changes in which their certificate of registration would be cancelled because of resistance from their counterparts.
At a public hearing that was chaired by Backer Mugaino, the Commissioner for Land Registration from the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the Secretary for Basongora Leadership Committee, Fred Tumusiime, who are the main petitioners in the matter, highlighted the main four grounds why they differ from the Busongora Community Land Trust.
Some of the grounds highlighted include; the flawed (faulty) process of Busongora Community Land Trust incorporation, non-consultative process, fictitious (pretended) Busongora Kingdom and disregard of guidelines by Minister of Lands.
According to Tumusiime, the Basongora Leadership Committee (BLT) observed that though the idea of having a Kingdom might create unity for them as a marginalized community, it was a concern that the controversial Kingdom is interfering in matters of land ownership.
He further explained that Basongora Leadership Committee sought clarity from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development who confirmed to them in a letter dated September 20, 2021 that Busongora Cultural Institution is not among the legally recognized traditional or Cultural Institutions in Uganda and that nor is Mr. Daniel Kashagama gazzated as a Cultural leader.
And this, therefore, means that the Basongora Community Land Trust is spearheading an illegal cultural institution.
But speaking to the Self-proclaimed King, Kashagama Ndaula II refuted all claims by the Basongora Leadership Committee saying that their motive is aimed at tarnishing his name and his Kingdom as well as owning large shares of land compared to the other Basongora in the area.