KAMPALA - The National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party Parliamentary caucus has proposed amendment of the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2017, to have land owners compensated with cash down, before acquisition of their land by the government for infrastructural development.
The NRM members also want the Bill , which is currently before parliament for consideration, to provide for a specific timeline between three to six months, within which dissatisfied land owners can file their complaints before courts of law, in case of unfair compensation.
“Cash will be given to land owners immediately after we have identified and demarcated the land for government projects, there should not be delays in compensation and government projects, those who may feel cheated, can always seek redress from the court and have their complaints settled within a period of three to six months,” Ruth Nankabirwa, the government chief whip said.
In a news conference on Thursday at the office of the prime minister in Kampala, about the outcomes of the NRM caucus which discussed the proposed Bill, with President Yoweri Museveni, the NRM Party chairman, on Wednesday at state House Entebbe, Nankabirwa said the caucus also agreed that land owners’ rights be respected in acquisition of land by the government.
To study the proposals, the caucus instituted an eight -member committee chaired by Vice President Kiwanuka Ssekandi, which will be required to report back to the caucus after a period of two weeks.
Citing unnecessary delays in the implementation of government infrastructural projects emanating from compensation disputes, government tabled the constitutional land amendment to strengthen Article 26 and pave way for faster land acquisition for public infrastructure, prior compensation.
The land acquisition amendment, government officials argue, seeks to give government leeway to use the land gazetted for public infrastructure development after depositing compensation money agreed by the chief government valuer to court pending determination by court of any dispute relating to compensation.
Currently, once the owner of the land rejects the government compensation or challenges it in court, work on the government projects on such land are paralyzed pending court ruling.