Last Updated on: 30th September 2023, 09:43 am
Apac | Lango sub-region is grappling with the processes of obtaining land titles for government institutions.
tndNews understands that some of the institutions’ lands are being encroached into by people who are now claiming ownership, they are registering the land in their names
The publication has further established that in the nine districts, one city and one municipality, only 35 per cent of the land that belongs to the government is registered with land titles.
Odongo DK, the LC5 chairperson of Alebtong who also doubles as the chairperson of all the LC5 chairpersons in Lango sub-region confirmed this, and said a majority of the schools, health centres and sub-county headquarters have not been registered.
“It is true about 65 per cent of the government’s land which has institutions has not been registered. We are still battling the issues, recently, during our joint council meeting we discussed and passed out some resolutions, and we are waiting for the districts to ratify,” Odongo said.
In Apac, only 5 per cent of the government land has land titles and the authorities have attributed the low coverage to inadequate funding in local governments which is affecting the process of registering land that has government institutions in Apac district.
Chairperson of Apac District Land Board, Emmanuel Opio Okol revealed that one of the government institutions being threatened by encroachers is Apac Hospital.
“More than 10 households have encroached into the hospital land, three of them submitted applications to us but we have refused their applications, we want the boundaries to first be established before we accept their application.”
As a land board, he said they only get an allocation of shs. 1 million per quarter.
“The money allocated is very small. The chairman gets shs 350,0000 as an allowance, other members receive shs 330,000 and we are 5 in number; we have more than 150 applications that we must sit to process, and we are supposed to sit at least 4 times in every financial year, each time we sit we see up 50 files,” Opio explained.
The Medical Superintendent of Apac Hospital Dr Augustine Semugenyi noted that all the 20 health facilities in the district do not have land titles, adding that the Hospital has been encroached on.
“What I have done is to obtain the documents and coordinates of the hospital, which is a very serious issue. I am going to call for a stakeholders meeting so that they can give the hospital land,” Dr Semugenyi said.
According to the district senior land management officer, Eunice Abia, although Apac district has issued close to 3,000 land titles, about 1500 are for customary land ownership while the remaining are for freehold lands.
“We have a lot of challenges, all the land that belongs to government institutions is not titled, only 5 per cent of them have certificates of land registration,” Abia said.
She further disclosed that the Department of Natural Resources where land belongs is the least funded, saying in the last financial year the department got a budget of shs 32 million yet the department contributes up to 80 per cent of the local revenue collection for the district.
“Out of that allocation, shs. 14 million was for the sector conditional grant for the environment, and the remaining shs18 million is shared equally among forestry, lands and environment which is shs8 million,” she added.
The Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Apac Paul Muboki, indicated that there is a funding gap which is why the district is still struggling to ensure all lands in the district are registered.
“Government needs land in order to provide effective services to the people, the government also needs land in order to support food production but we are constrained by funding.”
The Apac Resident District Commissioner George Abdul wondered why the Apac hospital land issues have dragged on till now, saying several resolutions were passed especially to demarcate the hospital land boundaries.
“The issue of insufficient funds seems to be a big challenge, and this inadequate fund breeds corruption,” the RDC stated.
In Kwania district, Benson Okello, the District councillor representing PWDs, noted that only 3 per cent of the government land is registered which he notes is attracting encroachers.
“We already have conflict in the district hospital land, part of the land has been grabbed, and the district headquarters has been encroached into, there is a need to ensure government land is secured,” he said.
The finance secretary of Amolatar, Sam Peter Onyang explained that they are yet in the process of securing a land title for Amolatar district local government.
Patrick Eumu Kauma, workers’ representative in Amolatar said they are facing challenges with schools that are founded by Churches where the foundation boards are not willing to allow the government to register the land.
The chairperson of Lango Parliamentary Group, Judith Alyek calls for an urgent land audit in the Lango sub-region to be able to address the challenge.
“There has been laxity from the government, the communities offered land for the government, but the government took a long to process the land titles,” Alyek said.
Ronald Bagaga, the Research and Policy Officer at the Eastern and Southern African Farmers Forum (ESAFF) appealed to the district leaders to consider securing certificates for the government institutions to secure them from being grabbed.
“We shall be willing to partner with the district local government to build the capacity of Area Land Committees who are vital in the process of getting land certificates,” Bagaga said.
On September 23, 2022, President Museveni launched a project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development to issue customary land titles to 257,000 families, and 630 clans in greater Northern Uganda in the 35 districts.