The Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II has castigated people who are pushing for the abolition of Mailo land tenure system, which is mainly in Buganda, saying they are bent on weakening the kingdom. Mailo land tenure system, as a response to the rampant evictions and land disputes in the country.
While commemorating his 28th coronation anniversary at Nkoni Palace, in Lwengo district on Saturday, the Kabaka expressed disappointment in the proposal which, according to him, is orchestrated to weaken Buganda, where the Mailo land tenure system is most prevalent.
He said some kingdom critics were portraying Buganda as an institution that is not accommodative yet all people regardless of their cultural backgrounds, have peacefully settled in Buganda over the years.
“For those who want to scrap Mailo land their goal is to weaken Buganda. This prompts us to ask, why land in other parts of Uganda is not talked about. Why Buganda land?” he questioned
Mr Charles Peter Mayiga, the kingdom Katikkiro (prime minister), said prior to the enactment of the Land Act 1998, Buganda had advised that government implements the Busuulu and Envujjo law of 1928 which protected rights of both landlords and tenants but their proposal was never considered.
“When Mailo land is abolished as being suggested in some quarters, one of the key pillars on which this kingdom was built will be destroyed. You parliamentarians who are here should know this; Buganda has never failed to discuss this (land) issue. We are ready to sit and show you how best land wrangles can better be resolved,” he said
The head of clan leaders (Bataka), Mr Augustine Kizito Mutumba had earlier reported to the Kabaka that there was rampant duplication of land titles which he said has deprived many people in Buganda of their land rights.
President Yoweri Museveni has on different occasions described the Mailo tenure as an evil system of land administration, arguing that it sustains a historical injustice and promoted inequality against tenants by landlords. The mailo land system has its origins in the 1900 agreement which divided the 19,600 square miles that form the Buganda kingdom among the Kabaka, regents, chiefs, central government, key offices and a few other individuals.
Basing on arguments of the president and recommendations by the Justice Catherine Bamugemerire led Commission of Inquiry on land, the government recently presented to parliament its legislative agenda for this term of office, in which the introduction of land reforms is among the considered priorities.
But Kabaka Mutebi says that the suggested reforms will mess up the cultural values and interests of the Kingdom and the subjects whose heritage is hinged on land as one of the key principles of their existence.
He indicates that proposing for reforms that specifically target a land tenure system which is largely espoused in Buganda amounts to outright injustice aimed at weakening the Kingdom.
According to him, such a proposal will create unnecessary tensions between Buganda and the other parts of the country, hence affecting the longstanding spirit of coexistence among multicultural communities in the area.
The Kabaka on the other hand echoed the need to promote human rights, fairness and rule of law in all aspects of governance, as a way to upholding values of the historical liberation struggles that occurred when the country was faced with bad leadership.
He also reiterated demands for the return of the Kingdom properties that include among others; land, offices and former buildings of counties and sub-counties that are still under the central government, saying that pledge to return them to the kingdom is long overdue.