Makerere University seeks land to take Innovations and Demonstrations to communities
A team of university staff led by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Finance and administration Prof. Henry Alinaitwe were in Kyankwanzi, Wednesday 8th February 2022 where they held a meeting with the District Leadership on the subject of the 7 square miles of land on Ranch 16, that was allocated by H.E The President of the Republic of Uganda to Makerere University in 1989. The land was for the establishment of demonstration and experimental modern facilities for Agricultural related training.
The meeting held at the Kyankwanzi District Headquarters was an initiative of the University and was moderated by the Ag. Chief Administrative Officer, Mr. David Muhoozi. It was attended by some District officials and teams from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) led by the Principal Assoc. Prof. Gorretie Nabanoga and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) led by the Principal Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine.
Following the deliberations, a committee was instituted for follow up actions whose terms of reference included identifying the land and its boundaries, establishing the current land usage and to come up with a report that will guide the next course of action. Members include Prof. Yazid Bamutaze from CAES, Ms. Catherine Awor, from Estates and Works Directorate and Mr. Hudson Musoke from the Legal Directorate.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration (DVCFA) Prof. Henry Alinaitwe informed the meeting that Ranch 16 has always been registered as a property of Makerere University and that the University earmarked it to further its objectives of reaching out to the communities. He said the mandate of the University was to teach and that the strategic reorganization of the institution was to take the University to the people he said, while explaining the intended usage of the said land by the University.
‘Makerere University belongs to Government, so the compensation of the squatters on the said land would be a responsibility of the Government’ he said while responding to the issue of squatters that were reported to be on the land. He said the university would make effort to approach Government to address the concern raised. Prof. Alinaitwe however noted that the said squatters were recent and that all along the said land was un occupied. He urged the parties to make on spot visits to the said land, establish the facts and come up with a report of the status quo in order to inform the next course of action.
Assoc. Prof. Gorrettie Nabanoga, Principal CAES said Makerere University rebranded and hence the need to give back to the people. She said the delegation that was in Kyankwanzi comprised of Professors, Deans, Heads of Departments, and people with all sorts of specialties and expertise was testament of the urgent need of putting into effect the vision of the University.
While responding to the challenges of diseases and other problems faced by the people of Kyankwanzi, Assoc. Prof. Gorrettie Nabanoga said the University was in place to support the core business of human life. ‘What we bring as a university is key. We are not coming to evict anybody but to partner’, she said, adding that Agriculture was one of the key drivers in the National Development Plan and that the University, through undertaking its mandate wanted to demonstrate how it can contribute to society once given the opportunity. She said this would be done through technology transfer and training students who would in turn support the realization of a decent generation in future.
Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine, Principal CoVAB said the staff at the college had lined up a number of enterprises to be done on the said land in Kyankwanzi. He urged the Chief Administrative Officer and other District Officials to welcome the University into the District and to explain to the communities as to what the University was bringing to them.
He informed the meeting that he was part of a team that went to Kyankwanzi two years back on the same issue and was therefore confident that the land in question was available for the University.
While welcoming the Makerere University Delegation, Mr. David Muhoozi the CAO said Kyankwanzi was predominantly an agricultural based District with a number of enterprises in both crop and animal production. He said the District was faced with a number of agricultural related challenges like serious drought as well as tick borne and other diseases that needed urgent attention.
(L-R) CAO Kyankwanzi Mr. David Muhoozi, Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine, Prof. Robert Tweyongyere
He said Makerere University was welcome to the District, one of the areas where a lot of activities were taking place and noted that the population was bound to benefit from the expertise from the respective Colleges. He said this would reverse the trend where the planning is done in Kampala without getting on the ground to ascertain the realities in order to come up with the best remedies to the issues at hand.
On the issue of the land allocated to the University, Mr. Muhoozi noted that the land was allocated to Makerere University in 1989 and regretted the fact that the University took so long to come on the ground to utilize it. He noted that although the said land in question on Ranch 16 was nor formerly allocated to any party legally and was still in the hands of Uganda Land Board, there were squatters settled on the land and these were identified as the biggest challenge the university was bound to face in the effort to make use of the said land.
The senior Lands Officer Kyankwanzi, Mr. John Matovu said it was the mandate of the District to move alongside the University. He said the land in question on Ranch 16 was not leased but was in the custody of Uganda Land Board. There was need therefore, to establish how the said squatters came onto the land, he noted.
Senior Lands Officer Mr. John Matovu explained the status of the land
This story was compiled by Harriet Musinguzi
Other people that attended the meeting.