The Uganda Land Alliance (ULA), a consortium of local and International NGOs lobbying for fair land laws, is concerned about the recent spree of land giveaways by the government of
During their recent land policy review meeting held at the Sheraton Hotel in
Some of the countries highlighted in this campaign include Saudi Arabia,
Saudi Arabia through its private sector is exploring possibilities for land acquisition in
In April 2008 during the World Islamic Economic Forum, the government of Kuwait launched a USD 100M fund code named “dignity living” to be invested in food production and agricultural development in
The government of Uganda is said to have leased 840, 127 Ha of land in various parts of the country to the private sector in Egypt to grow wheat, produce organic beef and rice for export to Egypt. This acreage represents about 2.2% of
In 2006, President Museveni is said to have provided Chinese investors with 10,000 acres (4, 046 Ha) of land in
ULA notes that while providing food to starving foreign comrades would not be a problem from a philanthropic point of view, some investors are simply camouflaging their ulterior business intentions. As a result of ambitious large scale commercial investments, fertile agricultural land and gazetted community resources like forests and wetlands are increasingly being encroached on.
Uganda Land Alliance appreciates some of the arguments put across by the government in support of massive investment for example; widening of the revenue base through taxes, employment opportunities, modernization, and foreign exchange.
However, while all this is happening, the poor people being bought off for such investments are being sidelined and are left with little options for their livelihood. At the end of the day, we are enhancing food security for others, while creating food insecurity for our own citizens. Besides, government seems to be giving away land haphazardly without following any clear procedures or agreed land policies.
Article 237 of the 1995 Constitution clearly states that “Land in Uganda belongs to the citizens of
ULA is aware that these issues are part of the ongoing national land policy formulation process, but is concerned that the process is taking far too long. We urge government through Parliament, to establish clear policies on land giveaways to ensure that unsuspecting citizens are not taken advantage of by moneyed investors. The poor citizens of this country must be protected because the Constitution allows them the luxury to own land not only for cultivation, but for their livelihood.
By Tumusiime K. Deo,
Communications Officer, Uganda