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Uganda: Is Museveni ready to take on Buganda Kingdom in a tough fight over land?

By Musinguzi Blanshe
Posted on Friday, 27 August 2021 01:52

Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (R), the King of Buganda Kabaka Ronald Mutebi (2nd R), retired Bishop of Mityana Wilson Mutebi (C), Katikiiro Eng. J.B Walusimbi (2nd L) and Prince David Wasajja (L) attend a meeting at the State House, 30 September 2009. REUTERS/PPU PHOTO/Hereward Holland

Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is hinting that he may seek to weaken the Buganda Kingdom by reforming land laws that could hurt its hold on valuable properties around Kampala. He drew ire in June from Buganda, the country’s largest traditional institution, when he described a land system introduced in 1900 by British colonialists - who gave the kingdom a large tract of land - as something “very bad”.

Museveni had also sent signals to the institution by appointing a lands minister who detests the system – known as ‘Mailo’ – whose history is long, complex and contested.

When Britain declared the Buganda Kingdom its colony in 1900, it apportioned 19,600 square miles of land to the Kabaka (king), regents, chiefs and colonial government. A large chunk of this land was subsequently occupied by tenants who are supposed to pay rent to the land owners.