Mbarara schools operate on lands without titles

Mbarara schools operate on lands without titles

Mbarara, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Mbarara District Public Accounts Committee Chairperson, Herbert Mutungi, has expressed concern over the potential mismanagement of government funds allocated to primary schools.

Despite ongoing financial support from the government, Mr Mutungi revealed that a significant number of these schools lack land titles as proof of ownership. Notably, 84 primary schools situated on land owned by faith-based institutions have never received land titles.

Mr Mutungi urged the District Executive Committee, led by Chairperson Didas Tabaro, Chief Administrative Officer David Muhwezi, and District Education Officer Gabriel Ahimbisibwe, to collaborate with church and mosque foundations to initiate the land titling process. This initiative aims to secure the schools’ occupancy on the respective lands.

This concern arises from an internal audit report indicating that all primary schools in Mbarara district face the risk of losing their lands to encroachments. The report highlights the vulnerability of schools under church foundations, emphasizing the absence of land titles despite previous audit appeals.

Kamugisha, a committee member, emphasized the potential loss of government investments exceeding 10 billion shillings due to the schools’ status as occupants on church land. Investments like government-funded classroom blocks and staff quarters could be at risk.

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District Education Officer Gilbert Ahimbisibwe confirmed the absence of any ongoing process to acquire titles for the schools, underscoring the need for engagement with relevant stakeholders as highlighted in the report.

Rt. Rev Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa, the Ankole Diocese Bishop, acknowledged the challenge, revealing that out of approximately 300 needed land titles, only 24 are available. Despite the shortage, plans are underway to secure titles for all Church lands within the next three years.

Fred Rugara, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, stated that efforts were underway to secure funds for initiating the land titling process, addressing the critical issue raised in the audit report.