Government to register Anglican Church land across the country-Judith Nabakooba

The Government through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD) is set to make registration and issue land titles and customary certificates of ownership on land belonging to the Church of Uganda (COU).

In the new development, the church is tasked to create a team that will work with a task force team from the ministry to identify all the land without titles from different dioceses across the country.

“I have briefed my permanent secretary and the technical team that I think this is the time to help churches register their land. We will request you one thing to have your trustees’ regularly updated and make annual returns for those trustees,” Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba said on March 05.

Nabakooba made the remarks while presiding over a three-day retreat of 40 bishops from the 39 dioceses that make up the COU held at Lweza Training and Conference Centre in Wakiso District.

“Archbishop I would request you to give me a team from your side and I will also get a technical team to help work with your people to see how they can have the land registered,” Nabakooba said.

She also asked the house of bishops to make use of the zonal land officers in their regions to handle their land matters.

“Each district has a district staff surveyor and the ministry zonal offices have senior staff surveyor and principal staff surveyor.”

The minister emphasized the issue of trustees and asked the church to ensure that at least land is under the name of the registered trustee.

“We have seen instances where people register land in their names as individuals and it is church land. The people who do this might have clean intentions but when they are no more, their family can claim that property,” she said.

She alluded to the issue on the Ndeeba Anglican church which was demolished by goons over land issues, saying

“It was in good faith but the family started making other allegations yet the church has been there for years. We believe if the land is registered with a trustee, it can be protected for generations.”

In other guidelines that the minister issued is for churches to register all their bonafide and lawful occupants to enable them deal with the rampant land grabbing and fraud.

“Register bibanja holders to avoid other squatters from flooding the land because without a register, a loophole is created for squatters to also settle on the land and claim they have been there for 30 years. If such claims are put across, it is very difficult to defend them,” Nabakooba told the bishops.

The lands minister re-echoed the message of making idle land productive and defining their boundaries to resolve conflicts with the community and their neighbors.

“Those of you having huge chunks of land, engage in production and commercial agriculture. If you do not have the capacity to do so, you can engage another person in the form of an investor but with clear terms of engagement so that the land is used for production.”

Rev. Dr Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, said the Anglican Church has been a victim of land grabbers because some of the land is not having titles.

“Some of those who generously donated land did it in good spirit without titles or agreements,” Archbishop Mugalu said.

He reminded the government of the pledge made four years ago to have the issue of Ndeeba church resolved and have their church rebuilt.

“We are so happy that the government intervened on the Ndeeba issue but it is yet to fulfill the pledge made by the president to ensure that the so called claimants are compensated and they work on the logistics to have our church rebuilt.”

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