The newly introduced Land Information System (LIS) by the Ministry of Lands, has drawn mixed reactions from the public with some expressing optimism while others dismissing it as a mere public relations exercise.
Robert Ndawula, the proprietor of Alpha land Agencies told The Sunrise that the success of the system will depend on the integrity of the officers.
“If those in charge of the system do exactly what they have told us, the system will save us a lot of time and headache and will go a long way in avoiding land disputes and conflicts among individuals, families and communities .”
The lands ministry this week held an open day where members of the public were allowed to use the system at no cost, as is usually the case.
The system’s communications Coordinator Christopher Burne used the day to assure members of the public that it will substantially reduce irregularities which have been associated with the old system.
“Not only is it transparent but it also has checks and balances while it allows land title owners to easily make adjustments which no one else can change,” Christopher assured.
Funded by the World Bank at a tune of US$20, the system is run in conjunction with a French consortium, IGN France international, which is undertaking the computerization of the land registry.
According to Burne, the design, supply, installation and implementation of National LIS infrastructure will fully integrate physical planning, surveying, valuation, land administration and registration and finalise the process of transformation of land records into digital format.
He told The Sunrise that once completed, a comprehensive, decentralized self contained one stop Ministry zonal offices will be operational in 21 districts across Uganda.
Currently, it is already operational in 6 Districts including Kampala, Jinja, Mukono, Masaka,Mbarara and Wakiso.
Some people however expressed pessimism about the usefulness of the system in streamlining land administration. Margaret Nansubuga who owns two acres of land in Kisaasi and had turned up to verify her title, said:
“The system might be good but as long as the it is being operated by the same human beings, it will not end fraud within the ministry of lands.” She added: “We are still worried about some personnel in the lands registry who spot land titles with weak or sometimes absent owners in order to fraudulently scheme for it”
Edward Mujabi, another land owner in Mpererwe, Wakiso District agreed with Nansubuga but appealed to the Lands ministry to improve the system by introducing an SMS alert system that sends messages to owners the moment someone tries to access someone’s title.