Squatters on Tooro Kingdom Land Reject Ground Rent Increase

1641 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
The increment from shs 5000 to shs 30,000 was announced last week through circulars issued by Hassan Isagara, the Kingdom Estates Manager. According to the letter, the squatters who wouldn't comply with the directive would be evicted.

Over 800 Squatters occupying land belonging to Tooro Kingdom in Rubingo parish, Karambi Sub County are protesting a six-fold increment in ground rent.

The increment from shs 5000 to shs 30,000 was announced last week through circulars issued by Hassan Isagara, the Kingdom Estates Manager.According to the letter, the squatters who wouldn't comply with the directive would be evicted. 

Chris Baguma, one of the affected residents says they were given a grace period of only on week to start paying the new rate, or face eviction.

Dan Mugabe, another of the affected residents blames the kingdom of officials of exploiting the tenants and ambushing them on such decisions that affect their livelihood. He says the kingdom county chief didn't inform the tenants about the increment.

But Isagara told URN in an interview that the kingdom parliament; ‘the Orukurato' resolved, in a meeting held in October 2014, to increase rates in order to supplement the kingdom revenue.

However, minutes of the said meeting seen by URN do not have any resolution to this effect.

Tooro Kingdom has large chunks of land in Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa and Kamwenge districts. However, Control of the land has been one of the major causes of conflicts in Tooro Kingdom.  The land has either been leased or sold off under unclear circumstances and the funds not accounted for.

According to the Land Act, squatters are required to pay ground rent to the landlords. Initially, squatters paid an annual fee of shs 1,000. However, the minister was given powers to determine how much would be paid.

In 2012, the annual ground rent was adjusted to shs 50,000 for areas within the city, and shs 5,000 for rural areas.