The Katikkiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga, has said that the mailo land system is not the root cause of land related issues such as illegal evictions in Uganda as it has been recently portrayed by the president.
His remarks followed the recent statement made by President Museveni who described the mailo land system as “evil.”
For over a century, the Mailo land tenure system that includes an inconstant taxation fee on land ownership and presumed squatters has been customary across Uganda’s principal traditional kingdom, Buganda.
But Museveni, who is opposed to the system that subjects land ownership in Buganda to independent kingdom laws, customs, norms, and values, noted that there is a need to reform it.
“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,” said Museveni recently.
During the presentation of Buganda’s budget for the coming financial year at Bulange Mengo, Mayiga said that he is ready to meet the government and explain the root cause of land wrangles in Uganda other than blaming the mailo land tenure system.
“The truth is that it’s not the mailo land system causing all these challenges, that is the truth and the truth will always be the truth. I am ready to meet government officials so that I can explain to them. These problems started around the 1990s and 2000s and if they are addressed, they should be no problem at all. The problem is not mailo land,” he told the media without mentioning those problems.
Mayiga highlighted a number of issues needed to address challenges regarding land in Buganda including arresting those who evict people from their land using guns, streamlining land offices, police conducting timely and comprehensive investigation on issues regarding land among others.
He urged the new cabinet to put emphasis on fighting crime, land grabbing, poverty, corruption and ensure that hospitals are well equipped with drugs.
Mailo land is a form of freehold predominant in Buganda, with some peculiar historical characteristics.
The Constitution recognises this type of land tenure and other forms of freehold available in Buganda and other parts of Uganda. However, this land tenure system sits at the epicentre of the wrangles between the landlords and Bibanja owners.
Buganda Land Board operations are largely based on mailo land and there have been some divergent voices over this land because many people find it hard to understand how mailo land works.