Vocal journalist Andrew Mwenda says he supports rampant land grabbing in Uganda because it is indicative of some people having tidy sums of money for investments.
Speaking at the 8th Annual High Level Policy Dialogue on the Budget in Kampala, organized by policy think tank Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), Mwenda said land grabbers want to do commercial farming, which is actually good for the country.
According to Mwenda, there has to be a conversion of customary land on which subsistence farming is practiced to commercial farming if the agricultural sector is to develop.
Mwenda said it is through land grabs for commercial agriculture that Europe managed to industrialise, a thing that should occur in Uganda, adding that land grabbing is, as he put it, “a good sign”.
He said the rich in Europe deliberately grabbed land of the poor to do large scale farming thereby transforming the peasants into workers.
Mwenda’s comments come in the wake of rampant reports of land grabs throughout the country. The government has set up a commission to probe various cases of land grabs in the country.
Mwenda is no stranger to making controversial justifications. In 2015, he once said corruption was good for developing countries like Uganda as the stolen money may be invested in productive ventures that government may have neglected hence spurring growth.
Mwenda is brother to Burahya county Member of Parliament Margaret Muhanga Mugisa, who in 2016 stunned Ugandans with the claim that she sold her “cows, goats and everything” to raise the Shs 10.2 billion that she paid in cash to buy the 23.1-acre land belonging to the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC).
She was later forced by parliament’s Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), chaired by Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu to return the land title to UBC. The land in question changed ownership three times within two minutes in a transaction court described as tainted with illegalities, irregularities.