How Land is Owned in Uganda

Last Updated on December 11, 2020 by
How Land is Owned in Uganda

When you talk about land in Uganda, many questions arise when it comes to ownership. This is because of the fact that many people live ignorant of what tomorrow will be when it comes to matter concerning land. Like many of you have been hearing, a lot of people have ended up being thrown off the land they have been occupying for many years by those who say the land belongs to them.

In this article, we will find out exactly how land is owned in Uganda, and the  different forms of land tenure system available so that one is well informed when it comes to issues like buying, selling, donating and trading of land. Knowing this is vital as it helps one to understand deeply the kind of land measurement they are transacting with.

Forms of land ownership in Uganda

According to Ronald Sekagya, a registrar in the department of Education and Public Affairs of Judicial Service Commission, in Uganda are four (4) forms of land tenure system which include the following below.

  • The Mailo land tenure system
  • The Freehold land tenure system
  • The Customary land tenure system
  • The Leasehold land tenure system

The Mailo land tenure system

Mailo land originates at the time of colonialists. Sekagya explains that ‘“What the colonialists did during that time was creating a title above the land that was already owned by indigenous people and would give it a block number, and a plot number. The size was measured and someone was registered as the proprietor”. This explains why the Kabaka’s land is referred to as [[[Mailo-land]]] since he was also given it during that time and is mainly found in BUganda as a result of the 1900 BUganda agreement.

In many cases, the persons occupying this kind of land are not the ones in the title. This is why current occupants have to pay ground rent which is commonly known as “busulu or envujjo”. In this land form, the owner has a right to anyone they want to be their children and so forth.

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The Freehold land tenure system

Like the names suggests, this kind of land form is free from any claims by any other party apart from the legitimate owners who can even transfer. Legitimate owners of the freehold land are registered with the lands office and have duplicate certificate of land-title while the original is in the land office. Finding ownership of this land is relatively easy for as long as one does a search of title from the registry. This form is very common in the country.

The Customary land tenure system

In the customary form, land is mainly owned communally while some may be owned individually. An example is the “kibanjja ownership” in Central region. How ownership is decided varies and largely depends on the particular community where land is found.

The Leasehold land tenure system

In this form, land is owned by a different party who grants you access or use of the particular measurement for a given period of time depending on the agreement between the parties involved. In this system, there is always a renewal period once the time expires.

Mr Sekagya also cautions that “what is key here is that non Ugandans are not allowed to own land as mailo land or freehold land but only under lease ownership“.

The next time you think about buying or trading land in Uganda, it is important for you to first of all understand the form of land you are getting involved into. Its also advisable for one to make thorough research as that will help one avoid any implications that may arise like you have read or even watched on the news.

How Land is Owned in Uganda

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