Lands Ministry PS Okalany lead technical team to Gulu on customary land certification

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Lands Ministry PS Okalany lead technical team to Gulu on customary land certification
Dorcas Okalany, Ps Ministry of Lands and Gulu District chairman Christopher Opiyo during the public discourse on customary land registration

Blessed with vast swathe of Lands albeit with challenges widespread poverty linked to lack of productivity ranking high.

Land registration remains a nightmare with locals asking for very low or no cost incentives, in order to stimulate statutory ownership.

This should be able to support security of tenure, access to working capital and expedite economic activities that spur growth.

"Land matters in Acholi Sub-region and Gulu district is very complex. We have formed all the district land committees, but we need to train them to become more efficient," Christopher Opiyo,  the Gulu District LC5  chairman appealed.

"Cases of many files being differed back to the sub-counties because of irregularities .As Gulu District and Gulu City, we are working towards harmonizing the transition including handling of files which are under process."

He told the gathering which included other local government officials, cultural leaders, district land boards, area village land committees from across the entire Acholi Sub-region and technical officials from the Ministry of Lands.

"We should also have the land registry improve how they operate. We need the locals to obtain their title deed certificates within time," urged the Gulu District chairman.

"How do people succeed in securing their land through titles which take very long? Once they succeed, business partnerships will take off. But selling an acre of land at Uganda shillings 250,000 really?"

The Ministry of Lands Permanent Secretary, Dorcas Okalany who is  officiating the two weeks exercise noted "This consultative meetings seeks to share with you the workings of the law in relations to land registration in particular customary land registration."

Participants attending the stakeholders meeting on customary land registration.

"It is important for note that customary land is recognised in the constitution.  Let us deliberate freely and find a way forward on scaling up certificates of ownership. Since 2015, 78, 166 certificates of ownership have issued to individuals, families, clans and communities as evidence of ownership. "

Uganda Land Commission's Chairman Prof. Nyeko Pen-Mogi lauded the ongoing exercise.

"We thank the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands for prioritizing this (Acholi) Sub-region. There are quite a number of government land for which we don't have proper records.  We need to identify these. At the Uganda Land Commission, we get a lot of presidential directives for industrial land."

"Districts across the country are providing free land for investors to stimulate investments. We want the local leadership to write to the Uganda Land Commission, and enable us encourage commercial investment in this Acholi Sub-region .There is a lot of politics going on. But no politics places food on the table. Buying tractors to open land for productive purposes is very paramount," Prof. Nyeko stated.

Every community and family need to show their certificate of ownership over the next few years.

According to Naomi Kabanda, the Director of Land Management in the Ministry of Lands, "the two week engagements will elevate discussions on securing land under customary tenure in Acholi Sub-region."

"Communities here routinely believe that there are people who have wandered here tp grab land. It makes the community suspicions of titling land. We hope it is clarified."

John Pagule, of Pader cultural leaders forum, noted that " the customary land here is vested in the hands of the cultural chiefs.  On the other hand, the influence of the local council leaders on land matters is of concern."

Other issues of lined up for deliberations within communities across the different sub-counties in the sub region will entail surveying, mapping and registering customary land.

In addition community sensitization and recordation of land rights at parish and village level; as well as training of land management institutions.

It is also being encouraged that physical planning in registration of customary land  roles and responsibilities; is essential to ensure smooth development of customary land in Acholi Sub-region.

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