What is impact of colonial land tenure system on the land use in Buganda?
The territory today called Buganda, before colonialism had a hybrid of centralized state system where land was serving communal interests. When Uganda became a British protectorate at the end of the nineteenths century, one of the major and popularly known intervention by the British was the introduction in 1900 a formalized individual private property ownership in Buganda.
In Uganda, Land as a factor of production serves a number of developmental functions for instance agricultural production, housing and construction and binds social and spiritual relations within and across generations. Uganda as an agrarian economy, the value of land naturally has been growing high…show more content… If they wished to use land, they were supposed to pay Busuulu rent on land they never used to pay for. The production of cash crops such as coffee and cotton and commercial production related activities like beer production for sale, the peasants were guaranteed to pay “envujjo” rent. Thus the tenants by law were required to pay rent to their imposed owners. In addition, the peasants lost autonomy and were not allowed to transfer the tenancy nor sell the land to another person without the consent of the land owner. As the process of extraction of Busuulu and Envujjo rent from tenants by the landlords from 1910 onwards became oppressive, the tenants’ movement emerged. From this experience the British enacted the Busuulu and envujjo law which also had their own embedded conditionalities and…show more content… Since the majority was peasants, they were unable to buy land because of limited purchasing power, they became squatter settlers. They started farming and grazing animals on the undeveloped land of the absentee landlord and their permanent settlement was not guaranteed because of fear of eviction. As population was gradually growing, the gaps between the have and have not started to expand and the tenure insecurity became widely felt among the tenant farmers. Even today, land transfers are one of the most contested issues in Buganda. The conflicting rights have made it hard for the landlords to develop their land even when they are financially able. Where the landlord might wish to buy the tenant off the land, the tenant must be willing to sell his/her rights to use the land and vice versa. Moreover, tenants at the same time have failed to develop the land because of fear that any time the landlord can evict them. Therefore, in such an environment of tension, land use becomes complex in both the short and long run because of fear of contestations. A good example on the contestation is presented in Bouke Thomas Bern master thesis report (2009) on the Land issues in Uganda who cites an example from the Daily Monitor of 2009. He argues that a landlord who tried to sell his land despite protests from his tenants was lynched and his