On 2 December 2021 the mayor of Mbale City, Cassim Namugali, issued 511 Certificates of Customary Ownership in a colourful ceremony. The event took place at Wanale Division Hall in Mbale City. These are the first ever such certificates to be issued in an urban area in Uganda. Several hundred Mbale residents took part in the ceremony.
Uganda is undergoing rapid urbanization, and more than 60% of urban residents live in informal settlements. The lack of tenure security in slums makes it hard for poor residents to improve their lives. Many informal settlements are located on high-value land close to city centres. Residents are under threat of eviction and are often excluded from consultations on development planning.
The Global Land Tool Network, facilitated by UN-Habitat, is working with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, ACTogether Uganda, the National Slum Dwellers Federation and Mbale city government to address this problem. It has supported 670 poor families in the Northern, Industrial and Wanale Divisions of Mbale city to register and secure their land rights.
“It pays to register your land because government has a record of your ownership and no one can ever take it away it away from you, said Dennis Obbo, congratulating the certificate recipients. Mr Obbo is principal information scientist of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, and represented the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry at the ceremony.
“The benefits registering land are tremendous”, he continued. “For example, legal documentation to prove tenure security, the certificate is useful as proof of ownership in courts of law in case of a dispute.”
Mr Obbo thanked GLTN and its partners for their support.
The Resident City Commissioner, Assistant Town Clerk, and Area Land Committee representatives also attended the ceremony, along with leaders of ACTogether Uganda and the National Slum Dwellers Federation.
GLTN has been working to improve the tenure security of poor residents in the cities of Tororo, Mbale, Masaka, Entebbe and Kampala since 2012.