By Lawrence Mushabe
Wakiso district Speaker, Najja Nasif has said more than 170 acres of the local forest reserve land were distributed illegally to 46 officials by Uganda Land Commission
According to Nasif, Uganda Land Commission approached Wakiso district in 2022 requesting to develop Gunda Forest Reserve by investors but due to the environmental conservation measures, the approval to develop the land wasn’t issued at the moment.
The land in question is located in Katabi town council , Entebbe Municipality, Wakiso district.
Nasif added that unfortunately, Uganda Land Commission continued to illegally process the land titles and subdivided the land in to 46 plots distributed to different individuals and investment companies including government officials.
“Uganda Land Commission does have any authority over this land because it belongs to Wakiso district local government. According to the documents we have, every official has paid land lease of two million four hundred shillings (2.4 million) per acre , the amount that’s in question. so it means there’s a deal behind this,” speaker added.
In 2018 , Youth leaders at Wakiso District petitioned the President of the Republic of Uganda , Yoweri Museveni to allow them develop the land in question through establishing the Industrial park .
In response President Museveni wrote to the Ministry of Water and Environment together with the Ministry of Trade to allow the youth follow the right procedures and have them use the land for development projects.
Ibrahim Kazibwe , Wakiso District Youth Conselor said it’s unfortunate that the land that they were expecting to develop and transform youths in Wakiso is being distributed to the mafias
He added that if the government doesn’t intervene, he will call on the youth to come for protest and protect their land themselves.
“It’s a very big disappointment to the youths of Wakiso district. there’s high unemployment rate among the youth and we expected to use this land for development and have youths get out of poverty .but now even we are seeing some of the land grabbers masquerade in our names as “Wakiso Youth Council” on the list that we saw for those who want to take over the land , yet we don’t know them” Kazibwe explained.
Nyanzi Fisal , Chairperson Natural Resources and Production Committee Wakiso district council appealed to President Museveni to mastermind the inquiry on the natural forest reserve before it’s encroached on.
“As the district committee, we request the President to intervene and help us chase these encroachers who use their big offices to grab this Land” Fisal added
“When you want to develop on any forest reserves , at first one has to come at the district for guidance from the forestry officer ; then later , the request is tabled before the executive committee and the resolutions taken to the district council for approval . When council approves, the District Administrative Officer (CAO) writes to the Ministry of Water and Environment for implementation and thereafter the Ministry writes to the executive and Parliament for approval to develop on the forest reserve or the wetland . More so , the developer is supposed to gazette another land that has the same equal ecological impact to conserve the environment but unfortunately Uganda Land Commission never followed all this” he stated
Last Thursday , the Lands ministry spokesperson Dennis Obbo said they were aware of the matter and investigations are still ongoing to resolve the issue .
“The issue is being handled by the ministry’s political leadership. The stake holders meeting is scheduled next week to resolve the matter with Uganda Land Board and other stakeholders,” he said.