“WE HAVE FAILED TO SOLVE LAND PROBLEMS IN UGANDA, OUR EYES ON LAND PROBE COMMISSION LED BY JUSTICE CATHERINE BAMUGEMEREIRE-CHIEF JUSTICE BART KATUREEBE
His Lordship Justice Bart Katureebe, the Chief Justice of the Republic of Uganda has conceded for failing to solve the land problem as a country.
“President Yoweri Museveni set up the Land Probe Commission led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire after we failed to solve the land problem. Like Professor Patrick Lumumba has said failing to solve the land question is the reason why we have land probe commission”.
Chief Justice Katureebe said this while addressing the engagement meeting between the Judiciary and the commission of inquiry into land matters in Entebbe.
Rt Hon Katureebe said the Land Division of the High Court has close to 10,000 land cases with 4 Judges each is supposed to handle 2500 cases. Even if they handled a case each day which is impossible they would need 7 years. Its difficult.
“I have asked the Land division to prioritize so that we handle cases with few resources available. As we wait for more resources, judicial guidelines will help us in fire fighting. We are borrowing a leaf from Kenya.”
He reminded the judicial officers to avoid corruption tendencies and be concerned about the rampant evictions in Uganda. Always ask how did these people acquire the leasehold than allowing them to wave documents. Was the land title given in accordance with the law?
We need to streamline the lawand the land probe commission should handle this in their report.
On the lighter note Chief Justice Bart Katureebe thanked the leadership of the land probe commission for working with Judiciary and called upon Justice Catherine Bamugemereire to return back home, I hope you come back soon.
Kenya’s popular Orator, Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba kicked started off the engagement with a powerful speech saying land was the last colonial question.
Lumumba attacked the colonial masters for disrupting the land tenure systems in Africa through their interventions. The British believed Land belongs to God but the Queen holds it on behalf of God a famous quote in one of the court cases.
He warned the Judiciary to avoid creating case hardened officers who will always say we have heard all this before. He reminded Ugandan Judicial officers to remember “No size fits it all” when adjudicating land matters.
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, Chairperson Commission of inquiry into land matters said they registered 7400 land related cases and over 20,000 phone calls. Among the registered cases were 2700 evictions by court.
“We thank the Judiciary for the great work they do, we want to capture views and recommendations so that they enrich our report.
The engagement has attracted Justices of the Supreme Court, Justices of the Court of Appeal , Judges of the High Court, Worships, Registrars, the President of the Law Society and other invited Guests.
On 8th December 2016, President Yoweri Museveni appointed a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters in Uganda.
Hon Justice Catherine Bamugemereire , Judge of Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court was appointed to lead the 7 member commission. The Land Probe Commission is commonly known as the Justice Bamugemereire Commission whose hearings are open to the public and media covers it well.
President Yoweri Museveni said on 21st Febuary 2017, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire will head the commission of inquiry that I appointed following numerous land related complaints from Wanaichi(Citizens).
On 23rd May 2017, six months after being appointed is when the land probe commission started its work based at the Archive Center based in Wandegeya, Kampala City.
Ugandans have been transfixed by the testimonies to the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Commission detailing abuse, violence, injustice, death by all sorts of people. The big names are the businessmen and women, the land registrars, Land boards and in some cases relatives.
Different security agencies have been accused for aiding the lucrative land evictions that have left many people without shelter, land for cultivation.
The Most celebrated businessmen and women, politicians and those serving in the army use their credentials to develop contacts in the state and government to aid their acts.
The size and scope of the land question in Uganda is big because it spans many years 100 plus. Many names have been investigated after cooperating with the land probe commission while others have gone native with abuses.
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has worked with good investigators that have discovered a lot of hidden dealings.
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has continued to seek the truth while examining evidence to figure out the truth and where not.”
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni wanted to get an independent commission that will come up with a report that stops dominance on land issues by sections of society.
Museveni who enjoys massive support in the rural areas of Uganda has been locked in struggles with a few elites or opposition members that wanted to use the land question to their advantage.
The country is eagerly waiting for the historical report that will come before 2021 elections.
President Museveni in his country side tours is blunt about land evictions in Uganda.
“We’ve gone through a challenging number of years, 100 years to be exact, where we seemed to lose our way, where we deviated from the path that you traditionally would have expected us to traverse.” He mentions the Commission set up by Governor Mitchell in 1924-1927.
The report from Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Commission will be seen as to how far it will influence the 2021 election the public aspect of the hearings have been highly positive in terms of establishing a political culture of accountability and transparency, however disconcerting it might be for the land grabbers at the moment.
President Museveni signed a legal notice appointing a Judicial Commission , the first of its kind in Uganda’s history. He says it’s a historical commission.
Museveni instituted this commission of inquiry into the mismanagement of land in the country because public outcry on land was much.