On 10th December 2022, 2372, the Prime Minister of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja handed over 2300 out of a total of 4,000 customary land certificates in a jubilant ceremony with hundreds of people present. The event took place at Kakomo playground in Kitumba Sub County, Kabale district.
The land certificates were the first to be issued through “Scaling-up Community-based Land Registration and Land Use Planning on Customary Land in Uganda” project which was launched in December 2021. The project funded through RVO managed Land at Scale Program is implemented by the Global Land Tool Network as facilitated by UN-Habitat in partnership with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD), Makerere University, International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) and Uganda Community Based Association for Women and Children Welfare (UCOBAC).
Denis Obbo- Spokesperson for Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development addressed the beneficiaries about the importance and use of the Certificate of Customary Ownership (CCO) and urged them to take good care of certificates as it’s a legal document.
“Congratulations to all who will receive their certificates today in particular, women and girls. And big thanks to households that registered land as family and co-registered with your spouses. It is our hope that the certificate will provide you the incentive to use and manage the land more productively,” said Simon Peter Mwesigye- Coordinator, Uganda Land-at-scale project.
“We are seeing a change in attitude of our people on CCOs, they are seeing the importance of CCOs and how it can transform their lives”, David Muhereza, Kitumba sub-county LC 3 chairperson
“CCOs give land tenure security to farmers and reduces land conflicts. With tenure security, farmers can invest and make their businesses grow. My government pledges to continue supporting the Government of Uganda towards tenure security and food security in Uganda,” said the Deputy Ambassador of the Dutch Embassy in Uganda.
“My Ministry and her development partners are looking for solutions for land fragmentation problem. The Certificate of Customary Ownership is a legally recognised land document by the Government of Uganda,’ Hon Nabakooba said.
“The Government of Uganda is committed to securing people’s land rights, ensuring security of tenure, and addressing rampant land disputes. Therefore, this initiative that is spearheaded by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development with support from UN-Habitat/GLTN and the Government of Kingdom of the Netherlands contributes to the government’s commitment,” Rt. Hon Robinah Nabbanja said.
While addressing the ceremony, the Prime Minister also advised the beneficiaries to avoid land fragmentation and taking their CCOs to financial institutions as collateral for loans without a clear payment plan.
“I am happy, at first, I thought it was a scam however, I trusted my local leaders and applied. I was encouraged to jointly register with my wife because we use the land together. Now that the Minister and Mr Obbo have said that the CCO is equal to other land titles, I am more confident of my tenure security,” Katabazi William 51 male beneficiary.
The Deputy Ambassador of the Dutch Embassy in Uganda also interacted with some of beneficiaries from the pilot project to see how they CCOs are improving household’s livelihoods. “My husband proved he loved me when he included my name on all the 5 CCOs we registered. We have used the CCOs to access credit which we have used to improve our housing. Also, we got an agricultural loan for our agricultural production and business loan to expand our business using the CCOs,” Mbabazi Lucy, 35, the female beneficiary.
The ceremony was also attended by the deputy Ambassador for the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Joost Van Ettro, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Judith Nabakooba, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. David Bahati, the woman area Member of Parliament for Kabale district, Kabale district Local Government officials, among others.