President Museveni Directs Landlords to Stop Eviction of Bibanja Holders or Risk Being Arrested

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President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has issued a strong directive to landlords, warning them against illegal evictions. The President has sternly ordered landlords to immediately cease all evictions and return the excessive nominal rent fees, known as busuulu, to the rightful bibanja holders. Failure to comply with these instructions may result in the arrest of non-compliant landlords.

President Museveni made these announcements during the 35th Heroes’ Day celebration held on June 9, 2024, at Mpenja Church of Uganda Primary School playgrounds in Gomba District. The event carried the theme “Hail Our Heroes: A Secure Uganda Is Now Reality.”

Expressing his concern, President Museveni voiced his disappointment upon discovering that landlords were unlawfully evicting bibanja holders despite the agreed-upon affordable rates. He reaffirmed that the issue of landlords and bibanja holders had been resolved in the Constituent Assembly (CA) and later reinforced by the Land Act of 1998.

“The landlords who have been charging more than the agreed busuulu fees by the district must return it back, and if they try to evict our people, we shall arrest them. You must pay back all the money you have taken from these people and the evictions are illegal,” said H.E Museveni.

The President reminded landlords of the agreement made in 1995 when a new constitution was drafted, establishing clear land rights and affirming that land belongs to the people. Private property ownership was reinstated, but it appears that some landlords are not adhering to the rules.

“We said a landlord has no power to evict a kibanja person especially the one who was on that plot of land (Kibanja) by 1983. The only thing was to provide some nominal rent (busuulu), which was to be fixed by the district land boards. The landlords must accept what we agreed in 1995 because Idi Amin had actually abolished mailo land but we restored ownership in order to allow a win-win situation, these landlords don’t listen to the NRM and they think it’s a joke,” the President stated.

To ensure the protection of bibanja holders’ rights, the President announced the implementation of new policies. He suggested that if landlords refuse to accept the rent fees agreed upon, the fees should be collected and kept at the sub-county level. President Museveni expressed his desire to resolve this issue within the NRM parliamentary caucus.

During the Heroes’ Day celebration, Judith Nabakooba, the Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, distributed land titles to 446 individuals from Kanoni, Gomba. This gesture was made possible through the government’s Land Fund, demonstrating the commitment to secure land rights for Ugandan citizens.

According to the approved regulations, landlords are required to charge a nominal fee of Shs10,000 per year to the bibanja holders.

President Museveni’s directive serves as a powerful reminder to landlords that the rights of bibanja holders must be respected. The government’s unwavering commitment to securing land ownership for its citizens creates an environment of equality and fairness.

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