Treatment of people opposed to land bill with respect to Buganda land by government authorities and whether land bill involved lands in Masulita, Masaka District and or particular tribes [UGA36438.E]

Under the Uganda Agreement of 1900 the British Colonial Administration introduced into the kingdoms of Buganda [Uganda] the "Mailo (square miles) Systems" of lands tenure, which is a form of freehold, whereby land was shared out among the Kabaka, regents, members of the royal family, chiefs and notables, early religious organizations and the Protectorate Government representing the British Crown. The land was allocated in square miles and later registered as "mailo" (Uganda Government Website, n.d).

The Land Bill was "table gazetted" on 2nd March 1998" (ibid.). The Land Bill set out to achieve the following objectives:

1. To operationalise all constitutional reforms and provisions relating to land.
2. To provide security of tenure to all land users...the majority of land users are the customary tenants and the lawful or bonafide occupants on registered land.
3. To resolve the land use impasse between the registered land owners (mailo, freehold and leasehold land) and the lawful or bonafide occupants of this land.
4. To provide an instutional framework for the control and management of the land under a decentralized system and for resolving land disputes (a constitutional requirement).
5. To amend and consolidate the law relating to tenure and management of land to conform to constitutional provisions.
6. To provide for Government or local government to acquire land compulsorily in the public interest and for public safety, public order, public morality or public health. This is a constitutional requirement.
7. To ensure proper planning and well coordinated development or urban areas (ibid).

The land bill was contentious and it generated heated debates throughout the country but was more particularly in the kingdom of Buganda, (The East African 23 - 29 June 1998; New Vision, 12 June, 1998).

The kingdom of Buganda is the largest of the four kingdoms which benefited more than the others from the 1900 Agreement. The kingdom of Buganda was granted approximately 8,000 square miles of land as opposed to approximately 500 square miles allocated to the kingdoms of Toro, Ankole and Bunyoro (Uganda Government Website, n.d).

The prime minister of Buganda kingdom reportedly stated that "the land bill was drafted in bad faith and the beneficiaries are not yet known (New Vision, 11 June 1998)." He reportedly called upon Buganda members of parliament not to vote on the land bill saying, "it's a constitutional right which should not be played with" (ibid.).

Consequently, the government issued a press release explaining that

Some Baganda seem suspicious that the Land Bill is a hidden agenda to dispossess them of their land. Media reports show that a section of the Acholi see the Land Bill as a ploy to grab their land; that they are satisfied with the status quo; that there is no land problem in Acholi and the Land Bill is a non-issue"(Uganda Government Website, n.d.).

The press release explained that the government had no intention of "grabbing" people's land but was "only trying to fulfil Constitutional obligations relating to land" (ibid.).

Masaka is the headquarters of one of the 20 counties of Buganda Kingdom (Buganda Kingdom Website, n.d.).

Information on the treatment of people opposed to the Land Bill in Masulita, Masaka District by government authorities could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Buganda Kingdom Website. n.d. "The Territory of Buganda." [Accessed: 9 Mar. 2001]

The East African [Nairobi]. 23-29 June 1999. A. Mutumba-Lule. "Uganda MPs to Brainstorm Land Bill Before July." [Accessed: 9 Mar. 2001]

New Vision [Kampala]. 27 April 1998. Michael Sentongo. "Uganda: Land Bill: Mengo Attacks Museveni." (Africa News/NEXIS)

Uganda Government. n.d. "Government Press Statement on the Land Bill, 1998." [Accessed: 9 Mar. 2001]

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Research Bulletin.

Amnesty International Report 1999.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999. 2000.

Keesing's Record of World Events.


Resource Centre. Country File. Uganda.

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