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Buganda kingdom rejects new Uganda land law

Buganda king, Kabaka Ronald Mutebi
King Ronald Mutebi heads Uganda's most powerful traditional kingdom

The Buganda kingdom has rejected a new land law passed after heated debate in Uganda's parliament.

Buganda Prime Minister John Baptist Walusimbi said the kingdom would continue to campaign against the law, saying it would remain "idle".

The kingdom feels the new law encroaches on the king's territory.

Buganda is the largest of Uganda's four ancient kingdoms. It has long campaigned for the restoration of some of the king's traditional powers.

Tension is high between the Buganda kingdom and the government of President Yoweri Museveni.

Supporters of Buganda King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II in September rioted in the capital Kampala after police blocked the king from making a controversial visit.

Absolute power

The land law was passed by a majority of 112-55. Three ruling party MPs - all from Buganda - voted against the bill.

Seven MPs walked out during the parliamentary debate, according to the New Vision newspaper.

Uganda map

The BBC's Joshua Mmali in the capital Kampala says the king currently has absolute jurisdiction over land within the kingdom.

The new law gives tenants more rights to resist eviction by landlords.

Landlords need a court order to evict tenants and must notify them before selling their land.

Anyone attempting to evict a tenant in contravention of these rules could face up to seven years in prison.

Our reporter says some analysts welcome the new law as a way of modernising Uganda's system of land tenure.

But others see it as a political move ahead of elections due in 2011.



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SEE ALSO
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Land battle looms in Uganda
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Country profile: Uganda
29 Apr 11 |  Country profiles

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