MUHANGA — Local leaders in Muhanga district Wednesday started an awareness campaign to sensitize residents on the new Land Bill which was published in the National Gazette recently.
The event organized the Great Lakes Region human rights body (LDGL), is the first of its kind and is largely aimed at analyzing the shortcomings in implementing the law. The campaign attracted opinion leaders and various human rights organs.
“It is important to teach residents and local leaders on the new bill because many people don’t know what it entails. This process should be extended to all levels of the community through their respective land commissions,” David Dushimimana, the district Lands Officer said.
He also pointed out that land in Muhanga district had been poorly managed and underutilized in the past but was hopeful that the bill would facilitate efficient urban planning.
According to LDGL officials, the outcomes and views collected from participants would be vital in advocating for the implementation of the law, ensuring security and equal rights to land.
“The government wants to ensure that land owners are secure and in case of land grabbing, the bill stipulates all the guidelines that can be followed to avoid disputes,” said Espérance Mukamana, an official from the Office of the Registrar of Land titles.
Sector leaders raised concerns and demanded clarity on how to handle land disputes arising from unlawful acquisition of land. Concerns over compensation rights also took centre stage during the debate.
Participants noted that some residents are cheated of their land or at times evacuated before compensation. However, LDGL law experts explained that the bill was clear on procedures and advised leaders to always take decisions backed by the law.
Compensation and land acquisition must be done with full consent of the landowner and in the interest of community development,” said Jean Rubaduka of LDGL.
Muhanga district officials urged the commission to support the sensitization programme and train local leaders in order to have a uniform comprehension of the new land law.