Church of Uganda’s Diocesan Secretaries and Estates Officers have today met in Namirembe – Kampala to harmonize management, decision making and access to church land throughout the Province to enhance its productivity and economic utilization.
The meeting organized by Church Commissioners Holding Company Ltd is to discuss church practices and procedures of land decision making and control, ownership, access and utilization of church land.
Mr. Balaam Muheebwa, the Acting Provincial Secretary of Church of Uganda while opening the meeting today morning called for establishment of income generating projects and surveying of all church land.
“We have been threatened by lack of alternative sources of income and we end up selling church land. COVID 19 challenged us to think of alternative sources when church buildings were closed. We must now ensure that we deliberately double our efforts in ensuring that church land is well surveyed, titled and not left idle. Let us establish projects that can generate income for the church.” Mr. Muheebwa said.
He added, “We need to find ways on how we can tighten our grip on church land, not to lose the little we have but rather engage in discussions on how to add value and acquire more land for future generations.”
He called for regular consultation, collaboration and communication across the different structures in the church, to review the existing land policies, improve and where possible, engage land law experts to make recommendations before any transaction on church land or any other assets is made.
According to Mr. Muheebwa, the church as of 2016 had eighty (80) square miles of land but instead of increasing, it keeps reducing.
Rev Jasper Tumuhimbise, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Church Commissioners Holding Company Ltd (CCHCL) called upon the Diocesan Secretaries and Estates Officers to ensure that as they keep custody of church land and assets, they do it with integrity and honesty.
“We must ensure that we always follow the right procedures and find mechanisms of how they can be adhered to. We are only custodians of faith and we have a huge mandate of making the church to be a church. We must desist from dirty transactions that make those we lead to doubt our integrity.” Rev Tumuhimbise advised.
Speaking on behalf of H & G Advocates (formerly Kagumire and Kateera Advocates), the legal advisors of CCHCL, Ms. Erina Kyomugisha called for vigilance in operations at all levels to ensure that legal counsel is always sought while doing transactions on any assets especially land.
Ms. Kyomugisha who was in company of her partners, Senior Counsel Yusuf Kagumire and Specioza, took participants through the Church of Uganda land policy detailing land ownership, land administration, land surveying, leasing of church land, land transfer, squatters on church land, managing land disputes, mortgaging church land, land revenue management, developments on church land by stakeholders among other topics.
The Provincial Chancellor and Provincial Treasurer are expected to take participants through challenges of handling land matters and finances in land matters respectively.