“I am Ready To Fight Anyone Over Mailo Land”-Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni says he’s ready to crash anyone who stands in his way to amend the land Law relating to Mailo system.
He says like he stood with peasants to fight Obote’s guns, he is also ready to stand with Bibanja holders in this new onslaught by whoever.
The president is also blaming Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi on reneging from an agreed position between both of them relating to Regional tier government.
According to the president, he and Kabaka had agreed to a deal for Buganda to accept a regional tier government but Kabaka later pulled out.
He says if the monarch had accepted the deal to proceed, the Buganda’s tax agency-Buganda Land Board (BLB) would now have some powers to manage the 5949sqm also refered to by Buganda as 9000sqm or Mailo Akenda.
This land was part of Buganda but was being managed by the colonial government which upon granting independence to Uganda, returned to government which was meant to work out modalities to hand it back to Buganda.
However, government to date has not handed it back and Mengo continues to demand for it.
We have learnt that Museveni’s push for fresh land amendments targeting Mailo land has not just started. He actually held a secret meeting with a group of religious leaders at state house Nakasero and handed them a 14-page dossier which this news site has landed on. The document dated 15/4/2008 is now doing rounds within Mengo and it is part of the reasons Kabaka last week visited state house and met Museveni alongside Katikkiro, prince Wassajja among others
. The meeting came a day after Kabaka had fired verbal artillery against government during his 28th coronation anniversary at Nkoni palace-Masaka. Kabaka Mutebi said the intended amendments to the land law only targets Buganda’s Mailo land which Buganda says is part of its culture and added that it is intended to promote hatred against Baganda. He questioned the spirit of this amendment and why it only targets Buganda’s land leaving out other parts and their land tenure systems.
A day after Kabaka’s concerns, the nation was shocked to see the monarch meeting Museveni at state house Nakasero but the details of their meeting remained scanty. Now, this news site has established that Mengo is in possession of this deadly document Museveni authored 14years ago where he expresses his feelings about Mailo land.
The document clearly shows how Museveni loathes Mailo system which he says is responsible for rampant land evictions against tenants/Bibanja holders.
In the document accessed by our Inspectors, the president emphatically opposes a notion that Mailo land is part of Buganda culture. He actually, says this land tenure system was a negation of Buganda’s culture by the colonialists.
“When Europeans came, they introduced new distortions. The main distortion was the introduction in Buganda and to a lesser extent in Ankole and Tooro the Mailo land system. Therefore, the line that Mailo land system is part of Buganda culture etc, is not true. It is part of the colonial heritage and in fact, was a negation of the Baganda culture at that time”
This meeting was attended by the Cardinal Wamala, late Arch Bishop Kizito Lwanga, Mufti Mubajje, Bishop Yona Lwanga, Arch Bishop Henry Luke Orombi, Arch Bishop John Wani and a host of selected pastors. It came at a time when there was a heated debate between Mengo and Museveni government over a proposal to ammend the 1998 Land Act. Museveni wanted to criminalize land evictions by landlords by imposing a guidelines on payment of busuulu. As a result, Buganda ministers Medard Lubega Sseggona, Charles Peter Mayiga and Betty Nambooze were arrested and charged on various counts including terrorism, inciting violence among others.
According to Museveni, before colonialists came, land ownership and management in kingdoms and chiefdoms belonged to both the state (king) and clans. In case of Ankole, whereas the land belonged to the Omugabe, his subjects had a right to land for cultivation and cattle keeping. In case of Buganda and in the north, the clans still had the decisive say on land in terms of ownership and management.
He said in order to reward the 1000 or so chiefs who collaborated with the British, to entrench colonialism in Uganda, they gave each one of them 8sqm of mainly ‘alreadly’ occupied land by peasants who were now supposed to start paying rent.
“The new landlords did not waste time. They set on their task of getting rent from the peasants with gusto. By 1924, they were taking 1/3 of the harvest of each peasant” he said, adding that peasants became disgusted and were about to revolt. The end result he says, was for the governor Mitchel to appoint a commission of inquiry into the matter which recommended that Mailo land system had to be reformed. The reform gave birth to the Busuulu and Envujjo law which decreed that no tenant was to be evicted except with the permission of the governor and also imposed a ceiling on the rent charged from tenants.
He however, noted that Iddi Amin was unfair to abolish Mailo land the reason the 1995 constitution reintroduced it basing on the fact that while the original owners got this land for free, these had since sold to new owners who bought with their money.
“Therefore, if governor Mitchel elected by no body could reform Mailo system, how much more right does parliament and elected government of Uganda have, in terms of, if necessary, amending this law? You can see for yourselves how Kampala has grown. What is happening in Kampala is also happening in other towns of Uganda. There’s therefore great demand for land. The elites are building, developing factories etc. This is very good”
Museveni noted that as a result of high demand for land, the land owners are selling to new landlords who evict peasants because they want to develop their land.
“Hence the phenomenon of land evictions. This must be resisted. Those who buy land should be ready to discuss with tenants. Anything else is unacceptable to me. I stood with peasants against Obote’s guns. I will stand with them against this new onslaught by whoever” he said.
Museveni also suggests that there’s massive corruption in judiciary, illetracy among peasants and some enforcement agencies. He said currently, land matters are treated as civil matters in court where the peasants are powerless to fight off the rich landlords hence the need for the state to come in to protect the weak.
To Museveni, whereas Mengo talks of 9000sqm, this land is actually 5949sqm and is now occupied by ordinary people under customary land system, leases given by government to private developers.
He said whatever land that remains is being managed by District Land Boards.
“If the Kabaka had accepted the regional tier, negotiated between myself and him through his Katikkiro Mulwanyammuli, the BLB would also be involved in managing this land together with DLBs. However, the major question the elite in Africa should ask themselves: How are modern countries organized in terms of production and land use?” He said.
However, Kabaka has stood his ground saying no amount of intimidation will erase Buganda’s culture relating to land ownership and management. He recently rallied Muslims and his subjects to use the recent Idd Aduha animal sacrifices to ‘curse’ all those who want to cause hatred for Buganda by inciting other tribes against Baganda yet they have been living in harmony with them for ages.