The acting Secretary of Uganda Land Commission (ULC), Andrew Nyumba has said they are struggling to carry out their mandate of managing public land over understaffing.
Speaking to Members of Parliament sitting on the sub-committee on Defense, Nyumba on Wednesday said the Commission is currently faced with over 1000 land cases in court, but it even lacks lawyers to represent them.
He added that the Commission under the Department for Land Management has inadequate staff to manage land matters across the country.
“There is need to review the structure of the Commission and also increase its staffing because right now it is very thin on ground. The current approved structure has positions for two principal land officers; we don’t have any, two senior land officers we have one and then two land officers. It even has a position for Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner but all those are not filled,” said Nyumba.
He revealed that the Land Management Department is currently headed by a senior land officer in the absence of a Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner.
Asked by Ruhinda County MP Donozio Kahonda, who is the Committee chairperson about actions taken about the vacancies, Nyumba said that the vacancies are under their 2019 approved structure that are yet to be filled.
He revealed that under the current financial year 2022/2023, ULC has a wage budget for recruitment of two principal land officers and two senior land officers and that they are pursuing the process with the Ministry of Public Service and the Public Service Commission.
Nyumba said that the wage for recruitment of a commissioner and assistant commissioner is not provided for as yet.
He also told the committee that the Commission has no legal officers and that they have been depending on those in the Ministry of Lands and sometimes the office of the Attorney General to handle the over 1,000 cases in court.
“The office of the Attorney General had seconded some staff but this year, they have withdrawn them but we have requested the Ministry of Lands in the interim, to also second staff from their Litigation department and I think by the end of this week, they should be able to give us two officers to support us in the legal issues,” said Nyumba.
He emphasized that they have a glaring gap in terms of representation of the Commission and sometimes cases have been heard ex-parte (without representation).
“So, once we have some people to at least represent the Commission, as we work out long term solutions, we should be able to dispose of some of the cases,” Nyumba explained.
Ruhinda County MP Donozio Kahonda, the Chairperson of the committee directed that the Nyumba together with other relevant staff from ULC appear again on Tuesday next week with a clear plan to recruit and also documents regarding the mismanagement of police’s Naguru land.
The Land Commission is a statutory body that is vested with the power to manage all public land in Uganda. Currently it has no substantial Chairperson after the suspension by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki over corruption allegations.URN
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