It is now public news that Kayihura has been given another three-year term as Inspector General of the Uganda Police by President Yoweri Museveni. What is now left is the Appointments Committee of Parliament to vet and rubber stamp his appointment.
If Kayihura completes his term, he will have held the forte for 15 years. That will be a remarkable achievement, seeing that very few security chiefs (ISO, ESO, CMI) have lasted that long in whatever positions they have held.
Predictably, the opposition politicians have vowed to block his vetting. They argue, and rightly so, that the police is an extension of the ruling NRM party. Kayihura is the chief political mobiliser for the incumbent. He (Kayihura) is always beating them up, tear gassing them and jailing them whenever they try to mobilize their supporters. I wonder if they expect him to roll out a red carpet for them.
It is ironic but the opposition needs Kaihura and Kayihura needs the opposition to thrive. This unholy marriage is necessary to ensure both of them survive and appear relevant to their respective supporters.
As long as Kayihura’s police are beating up and jailing regime opponents, they are doing a good job. And as long as the opposition is persecuted and denied political space within which to operate, they remain relevant to those fed up of the status quo.
Just imagine if every time Besigye went to Owino market to consult his supporters there was no incident to create breaking news on social media or mainstream media? Just imagine if the cameras didn’t follow Besigye around during walk-to-work or the police let him walk freely? For how long would he go on with it?
So beating Besigye and other opposition politicians is actually good for them. They appear persecuted and therefore remain relevant to the people they are trying to appeal to, at least in the short term. Besigye’s rise to main opposition leader is because of the beatings he has endured, not his alternative policies.
By unleashing all this terror upon the opposition, Kayihura is making sure his boss remains untouched in State House and therefore has time to strategize and win the next election. Kayihura, therefore, acts not just as Chief Political Mobilizer but also the overall commander of all intelligence services.
It is, therefore, not far-fetched to say that the opposition re-appointed Kayihura by constantly cursing and complaining about him. His boss, Museveni, just knows he is doing a good job as the Chief Architect of regime survival. Museveni is therefore able to kill many birds with one stone.
Kayihura collects intelligence, mobilizes supporters across the country but unfortunately neglects his primary responsibility of ensuring the safety of all Ugandans and their property. I guess that is a small price to pay, at least in the short term. How else would you explain it?
Museveni and Besigye need each other. As long as Besigye is still contesting, Museveni won’t retire and as long as Museveni still wants the life presidency, Besigye won’t rest.
The opposition needs a new strategy.
Buganda Land Board (BLB)
Interestingly, Buganda Kingdom land is less than 2% of the total land in the central region. Only that is it mainly prime land, which makes it very easy to target. Most of it is in fact occupied by the bigwigs in government and business.
BLB have been all over the news lately with their Kyapa mu Ngalo promotion, a fresh campaign following the previous registration of all settlers on land owned or held in trust by Buganda Kingdom and/or the Kabaka of Buganda.
As a result of the registration campaign, many people got Certificates of Occupancy that guarantee them certain legitimacy, protection, and rights as bonafide bibanja owners. There is now less fear of illegal eviction. Busuulu is also easier to collect.
BLB wanted to push this further and encourage interested bibanja owners to convert to the leasehold arrangement and acquire land titles.
The bibanja arrangement is mainly a gentleman’s agreement between a settler and a landlord. It may involve witnesses and/or a written agreement but no land title. Sometimes cash may not necessarily exchange hands especially when the settlement was without the landlord’s knowledge.
By law, a kibanja owner is supposed to pay an annual rental fee to the landlords – ranging from UGX 1,000 to UGX 50,000. The fee varies from place to place based on the decision of the District councils. The fee is regardless of the size and/or location of the land in as much as it can be revised from time to time.
Because it is a small amount, landlords normally don’t collect it. Who would drive 100 kilometers to collect UGX 1,000? Therefore, the leasehold arrangement is a better deal for the landowner. They get more income while retaining perpetual ownership of their land. This is not new and BLB shouldn’t be castigated as if they are the first to pull it off.
By encouraging bibanja owners to process land titles under the leasehold arrangement, BLB is thinking critically and economically. The lease periods range from 49, 75 to 99 years and the fees are based on the location and value of the land. BLB therefore makes more money this way without losing permanent ownership of their land.
At the end of the lease period, in case of failure to renew, the land and all properties on it revert to the landlord, in this case, Buganda Kingdom. This is the biggest issue raised by critics of this arrangement. What if in 49 years, you or your kids are not able to afford the lease? What will happen? You would obviously lose the land and property since you can’t carry it away.
It is, however, good that a clause is inserted, giving first priority to the sitting tenant before anybody else. But how loyal will the landlords
With a kibanja agreement, you can’t borrow from lending institutions like banks and MDIs. You can not use the land as security in any serious transaction, which you can do under the leasehold arrangement.
Converting from perpetual and transferable/inheritable ownership under kibanja to “temporary” ownership under the leasehold arrangement is where the biggest issue is. Will the land automatically revert to a kibanja as it was before the lease? I doubt that is currently possible under the land laws.
Some people argue that kids will take care of themselves. They will cross that bridge when they get to it. But of course, many people will still be here after 49 years. Imagine a retired you, possibly living off your pension, will you still be able to afford that lease?
The choice is yours. Choose wisely.