Lands Ministry on Friday 12th August, 2022 handed over customary land titles to the communities of Tepeth in Moroto, Pian in Nabilatuk and the Pokot in Amudat.
The handover function was presided over by the State Minister for Housing, Princess Namuganza Persis at Tapac subcounty headquarters in Moroto District.
Hon. Namuganza, noted that the majority of land in Karamoja which is held communally under customary tenure, lacks formal registration, which has led to conflicts and illegal eviction of the local Karamojong population.
It was on this basis that deliberate efforts to register the land rights of these weaker groups and indigenous communities was carried out to enable them to assert their rights against competing claims and avoid any further land injustices of citizens.
Namuganza emphasized that the Ministry would accelerate the registration of land for the Communal Land Associations (CLAs) in karamoja in order to issue customary titles within the next 2 years. She also said that the Land offices would use modern and scientific methods while demarcating customary lands so that each title contains not only the traditional boundary markers but also the boundary GPS coordinates.
Ministry of Lands Permanent Secretary (PS), Mrs. Dorcas Okalany thanked the CLAs for agreeing to map and register their land.
The CLAs included: Naita atepeth CLA, for the So-Tepeth community in Moroto district whose land measured 32,439 acres; Kailikong Nathinoyit CLA, for the Pian community in Nabilatuk district whose land measured 46,052 acres; Narisae CLA, for the Pian community in Nabilatuk district whose land measured 40,602 acres; and Achorichor CLA, for the Pokot community in Amudat whose land measured 6,311 acres.
Namuganza informed the communities that the titles had undergone a number of technical checks to confirm that there are no other titles issued for those areas and the process to migrate them into the LIS was underway.
Namuganza re-affirmed NRM Commitment to register customary land as the best way of protecting customary land and addressing the historical land injustices in Karamoja.
This commitment by Government is in the NRM 10 Point Programme, specifically, Point 8 of the NRM 10 Point Program which promised to protect and register customary land for the local indigenous communities in order to avoid land grabbing and illegal evictions of people in Karamoja.
She sounded a warning that these customary land titles must be respected by all including investors, prospector’s and mining companies given exploration licenses.
“Stop making life and livelihoods for the Tepeth, Pian and Pokot difficult. The time is over for evicting communities using Mining licenses. A mining license cannot be a land title and should not be used to evict communities, destroy their community kraals and forcefully ask them to move away to make way for your own interests in their land,” said Namuganza, adding that such persons or institutions must seek the consent from the registered customary land owners to access and use their land as provided for under the law.
She thanked the 3 District LGs, especially office of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and the subcounty Technical heads, who are also the Recorders, the Area Land Committees, physical planning committees, the demarcation teams and the all those that confirmed the boundaries.
Other partners thanked included; the Moroto Catholic Diocese, Caritas land desk, GiZ (KAM), Karamoja Development Forum (KDF), Resource Rights Africa, and LEMU.
Minister Namuganza pledged Ministry support to process more titles, as part of transforming these communities to protect them and ensure that they benefit from the land registration exercise in the market economy under the PDM initiatives.
Other guests who attended the handover function included; MPs from Moroto, Nabilatuk and Amudat, Bishop Damiano Guizzeti of Moroto Diocese, and RDCs from the region.
By Grapevine Reporter