Land Fund

  • The Land Fund is a multipurpose resource envelop with diverse targeted beneficiaries including tenants seeking to buy/own land, government seeking to buy land for redistribution to bonafide occupants or resettlement of the landless, loans to persons wanting to acquire titles or even survey their land.

The Land Act, Cap 227, Section 41(1) creates the Land Fund and places its management under the Commission to serve a specific purpose, namely ;

  • (a) To give loans to tenants by occupancy to enable them to acquire registrable Interests pursuant to article 237(9) (b);
  • (b) By the Government to purchase or acquire registrable interests pursuant to the Constitution;
  • (c) To resettle persons who have been rendered landless by Government action, Natural disaster or any other cause;
  • (d) To assist other persons to acquire titles under the Act in accordance with a prescribed scheme.


In Uganda the Land Fund is among the numerous public funds established by law to serve the various interests for which there is special need to collect or allocate public funds for a specific purpose.

Examples of funds established by law in Uganda include -

  • the Contingencies Fund (Art 157 and S.10 of the Public Finance and accountability Act, 2003 – for national emergencies which could not have been foreseen and which cannot be postponed.
  • The National Social Security Fund (S.2 of Cap.222 for social security contributions).
  • The Sinking Fund (established by the Non Performing Assets Recovery Trust Act Cap. 95 for purposes of recovery of non performing assets.
  • During pre-colonial era each ethnic group had their customary tenures and land was vested in the lineage head or the chief, who allocated it to responsible adults for use for the benefit of all.
  • Colonial era introduced new land tenure systems which totally altered the way land was held by the various ethnic groups. Thèse were mailo, leasehold & freehold ignoring customary tenure system.
  • To formalize these changes, the British signed 3 native agreements with the kingdoms of Buganda, Ankole and Toro in 1900, 1900 & 1901 respectively. These agreements outlined terms for administering land in these areas among other things. Majority of the original controllers of the land in the customary system were left out in the agreements and this led to disputes and uprisings.
  • There was no native agreement with Bunyoro kingdom, basically because the king and his chiefs refused to relinquish their sovereignity and be governed by the colonial masters. It was then forcefully overtaken and the land vested in her Majesty’s Gov’t and annexed to Buganda and allocated out leaving indeginous people tennants at will on land which formely belonged to them.
  • In all cases pre-existing private interests of small holders, mainly land use rights were not legally recognized, the multi-layered structure of rights persisted and has become a defining characteristic of the complexity of land relations in Uganda.
  • The Land Fund intends to address these issues of historical injustices and colonial legacies which resulted into multiple rights and interests over the same piece of land and dispossession and loss of ancestral land by some communities.
  • Implementation of the Land Fund will also help in the fight against poverty given the diversed targeted beneficiaries and its linkages to other Gov’t strategic objectives.

Land Reform Decree (1975 – 1995)

  • A major land reform was attempted in Uganda under the Land Reform Decree, 1975. It declared all land in Uganda to be public land, abolished Mailo and Freehold estates, and converted the estates to leases of 199 years (for public bodies, religious organizations and other charitable organizations) and 99 years (for individuals), with effect from 1st June, 1975.

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995

  • Fundamental reforms relating to ownership, tenure and management of land in Uganda as a result of the 1995 Constitution are the following:
  • Land was vested in citizens of Uganda, in a corporate sense, as opposed to land vesting in the State as was the case with the Crown Land and consequently, Public Land (Art. 237).
  • Customary tenants on Public Land were empowered to own land occupied by them.
  • Mailo and Freehold tenures and Estates which had been abolished by the Land Reform Decree were restored.
  • Recognition and protection of lawful or bona fide occupants of mailo, freehold and leasehold land. Parliament was required to make a law regulating the relationship between the lawful or bona fide occupants and the registered owners.
  • Requirement to pay compensation prior to the taking of possession or acquisition of land/property (Art. 26).
  • Decentralization of land management to Districts.
  • After the coming into force of the Constitution in 1995, the Land Act was enacted in 1998. Section 42 of the Land Act, indicates that “There shall be a fund known as the Land Fund”.

Land Fund Regulations

  • The Regulations were finalized, cleared by Solicitor General and approved by Cabinet. The Land Fund Regulations is now ready to be gazetted

Funding

  • In the absence of Land Fund Regulations, the Commission under Government Project: Support to Uganda Land Commission, has been acquiring registered land from land owners on willing seller – willing buyer basis as an interim solution to stop illegal evictions of the bonafide occupants.
  • Since inception of the project in FY 2002/03 to-date, the Commission has received funding totaling UGX 31.1bn and acquired 62,279.74 hectares of land with bonafide occupants.

What has been done?

  • Since inception of the project in FY 2002/03 to-date, the Commission has received funding totaling UGX 31.1bn and acquired 62,279.74 hectares of land with bonafide occupants.
  • Full implementation of the Land fund will restore land tenure security of occupants. Evidence from all over the world indicates that households will not make land-related investments on land to which they do not have secure property rights (not necessarily full ownership). Systematic land regularization will have a significant investment benefit, such as promotion of use of land as collateral.

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