By Nyanzi Ssengooba

“Kabaka’s land or mailo?” This is one of the most common questions asked by many potential buyers before entering a land transaction. Thus it has been deduced by most Ugandans especially in central Uganda, that land, is either “Kabaka’s land or mailo“. How true is this?

Kabaka’s land

Kabaka’s land is also mailo land, the difference being that his is official mailo; he owns it by virtue of his office. During the 1900 Buganda Agreement, all land in Buganda was divided into two; crown land, which was under the control of the colonial government, and mailo land.

This mailo land was also divided into two; there was land that was given to office holders and the other given to private individuals. The beneficiaries, by virtue of their offices included the Kabaka, who was given 350 square miles and the ssaza chiefs who got eight square miles, among others,

This land was not yours as an individual. It would be transferred to the next office holder. It was meant to cater for the office bearer. So the 350 square miles that was given to the Kabaka is the land that is today popularly referred to as “Kabaka’s land” Therefore, Kabaka’s land is also mailo except that it is official mailo.

The 350 square miles is the land that is currently managed by the Buganda Land Board. This land is predominately found in suburbs such as Nansana, Munyonyo, Buziga, Konge, Kigo, Maganjo, Kagoma, and Ganda, among others.  the land was called mailo because it was divided in miles which in Luganda is “mailo”

Mailo land
Buganda Land Board (BLB), says that private mailo (plot) is the land which was parceled out to individuals in the sense that it was their personal property.

People such as Kabaka Daudi Chwa, his mother, the Muhamedian prince, who was Mbogo and the mother of Mwanga, were given land as individuals. They could deal with this land as they deemed fit; they could transfer it, or if one got a financial problem or any other, they could sell it.

It is through this selling that you would find say a Mukiibi, who is not a royal, owning land that once belonged to the latter. The land that is owned by real estate companies was acquired through such transactions. Bugaya offers.

Difference between the two
The legal officer says the salient difference between “kabaka’s land” and private mailo is that a buyer is only given a leasehold title for the Kabaka’s land while for private mailo one can get either a leasehold title or an outright transfer.

One cannot buy and own the Kabaka’s land. The reason why  give leases on this land is because, if one is allowed to buy and own this land, it means that the next generation of the Kabakas will have nothing.

It has been many years since land in Buganda was parceled out but that given to the office of the Kabaka is still intact, it is still the 350 square miles because of the lease issuance policy. The maximum number of years for the lease is 49 years,” .

The other difference is that one has to pay premium and annual ground rent for Kabaka’s land, while for private mailo one only pays for  once Buganda Land Board (BLB) says premium is 10 per cent of the capital value of the land while ground rent is one per cent of the premium.

If a plot, say in Buziga, costs Shs40m, that is its capital value. The premium is 10 per cent which translates into Shs4m while the ground rent is one per cent of Shs4m which is Shs400,000. In other words, for that plot in Buziga one pays premium once, and annual ground rent over the 49 years.

Renewal of Kabaka land title
However, the legal officer replied to the worry about the lease extension; In law when the lease expires, the land returns to the Kabaka’s ownership.

He determines whether to extend or not to. But it is the policy of BLB that once a lease expires, they renew it and give it to the sitting tenant.
“This is a hybrid institution; it is commercial, cultural and political”.

“Failure to extend the lease tarnishes the name of the Kabaka. You will also have frustrated someone’s developments on the land. The only circumstance under which we can hesitate to renew a lease is when the sitting tenant got the lease fraudulently.
Merits of  “Kabaka’s land”. Besides, the land is managed on his behalf by the BLB.

So in case of any doubt, there is a known office to run to,”  so to those who  think ezekyapa mungalo should not have lease of 49 years  just want to mislead others but they know the truth and it’s not knew this is something which has been well spelt since 1900 agreement. Any body who wants unlimited years on the land you buy in Buganda you buy mailo land not kabaka’s land.