By Kanyago Jacqueline
The public must be aware that most of the titles they own may not properly be surveyed. There have been some irregularities in the processing of the titles and the actual measurements on the ground, which were caused through bad practices by non professional surveyors and some non registered surveyors.
Surveying and processing land titles are two different issues I suppose. Surveying is done by trained professional in that field, yet processing land titles is typically following up documents which result into land titles, from one office to another and can be done by anyone. This is where the problem begins.
A number of people have fallen victims of non professional surveyors faking them with inaccurate measurements.
Among them is Namisango Hamidah a resident of kyadondo subcouty wakiso district who says, she has appeared in court for over four times with her neighbor regarding issues of land. This was due to fake surveyors who were tricking her with inaccurate measurements. To top it all, the LC1 chairman by the names of Jumah Senabulya was involved in every bit of the measurements. In her view Namisango, says it was this chairman who always brought these surveyors.” I trusted him because he was a prominent person who knew almost everybody in the area, adds Namisango.” She adds that eventually the chairman was forced to go into hiding just because he had got involved into land Scandals for some time.
“Iam sure the registered surveyors are aware of what their colleagues, the non registered surveyors are doing as far as faking survey information on table is concerned. However, they can fight it because the system under which the ministry of lands has been operating was very ancient and corrupt. The registered surveyors are responsible for all surveys in the country. The non registered surveyors must be operating under different registered surveyors.”Namisango explained.
kalema derrick is another victim who faced the same problem of fake surveyors. He is abusiness man dealing in breakables in the suburbs of kawempe division and a resident of kazo Angola kawempe division. Kalema says the fears of losing his plot of land still haunt him up to now. He says he nearly lost half of his plot because of the non professional surveyors whom he claims got them from “a so called registered surveying company.” Whose name he doesn’t even recall. In his view kalema says the surveyor was well equipped with all the gadgets that alay person would not suspect to be owned by anon professional surveyor.
Kalema adds that, the public has a tendency that whoever they find in that field can do all, surveying and processing titles. Therefore, because of this belief you find most surveys are done by non professionals due to the fact that the people following up documents are everywhere. Most of them were once property brokers and now carrying out surveys like surveyors. This has resulted into a very indiscipline profession, where the non registered surveyors and non professionals in the same manner. Leading to non professionals taking advantage of the situation and infiltrated into the system hence giving the public wrong results. He however says, what leads LC1s’ to get involved into land scandals is greed and more so ignorant about the land regulations. So they can easily be manipulated by the non professional surveyors.
According to Cyprian Nyangat the registrar of the surveyor's board, The Board is responsible for regulating the surveying profession in the country. The Board regulates surveyors through registration of surveyors, disciplining of surveyors and giving practical licenses to surveyors. He says under article (21) of the land surveyors Registration Bill 2013, a style of registered land surveyor, a person commits an offence, where that person not a registered land surveyor, or uses the title “Registered land Surveyor of Uganda” or the letters “RLSU” After his or her name or in any form or style or description which implies that, that person is a registered land Surveyor.
The person who commits an offence under this section shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty currency points or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding twenty five months or both. He adds that in Section 19 (3) of the Surveyors Registration Act reads: a Subject to this Act, no person shall engage in or carry out the practice of surveying, by whatever name called, unless he or she is the holder of a valid practicing certificate granted to him or her in that behalf under this Act.
According to new vision D/8/12, the media has recently been awash with complaints by some people who accuse the old surveyors of blocking young graduates from registering to join the surveyor's board. Most of the complaints relate to the numerous bureaucracies involved before a surveyor can obtain an operating license. Some complainants claim that the surveyor's board is dominated by old surveyors who don't want young graduates for fear of competition. Seventy four out of Uganda 81 districts do not have a registered land surveyor, according to a list that Saturday Vision obtained from the Surveyors Registration Board. According to the list, Uganda has only 37 registered land surveyors. The Board says these are the only ones permitted by the Surveyors Registration Act to sign survey reports. Twenty eight of the registered surveyors (about 76%) are based in Kampala, three in Entebbe and one each in the districts of Kabale, Masindi, Lira, Kabarole and Mukono.
The other districts are served by unregistered surveyors, who go to the field and take the documents to registered surveyors to sign. The president of the Institution of Surveyors of Uganda (ISU), Nathan Behangana, expressed fears that this state of affairs had paved the way for unprofessional work and land conflicts. He blamed the Surveyors Registration Act, which requires A university degree for someone to register as a surveyor, yet the majority of the people engaged in surveying are diploma holders. Even university degree holders cannot be registered for two years after their graduation, according to the law. The only diploma holders allowed to register are those who are awarded by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors of UK.
The fact that Behangana said that unregistered surveyors account for 99% of the fraud cases they receive from the public, is evidence that unregistered surveyors could process land titles, which Nyanga acknowledged that a few unscrupulous ones actually do.
Today, the ministry of lands has introduced a new system (GIS) which is more accurate, modern and systematic. Under this system it’s possible to detect errors which may occur because of faked and inaccurate measurements taken from the ground like; over lapping titles, miss-positioned titles etc. however, the surveyors’ registration Board should wake up, and join the ministry of lands and fight these irregularities in the titles processing.
The author is an MA student at the Department of Journalism & Communication