TOP
Thursday,November 22,2018 13:11 PM
  • Home
  • News
  • CSOs welcome withdrawal of land bill

CSOs welcome withdrawal of land bill

By Jeff Andrew Lule

Added 6th September 2018 11:22 AM

According to a report by the Sectoral Committee on Land and Parliamentary Affairs, the bill doesn’t introduce anything new warranting an amendment to the Constitution.

Landbilla 703x422

According to a report by the Sectoral Committee on Land and Parliamentary Affairs, the bill doesn’t introduce anything new warranting an amendment to the Constitution.

Legal Aid service providers Network boss Sylvia Namubiru addresses journalists as Moses Onen looks on during a press conference in Kampala on September 5, 2018. Photo by Juliet Kasirye

The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have welcomed the Government’s move to withdraw the Constitution Amendment Bill, which had proposed that government compulsorily acquires land before compensating owners.

They argue that there was no need amend the existing Land Acquisition Act since it already has similar provisions.

They noted that government needs to scrap off the proposed amendment completely and improve the already existing law.

Addressing journalists at a joint press conference at Action Aid head offices in Kampala on Wednesday; the executive director, Legal Aid Service Providers Network, Sylvia Namubiru said much needs to be improved in the old law.

“The Land Acquisition Act (CAP226) upon which the proposal for amendment was premised came into force in 1965 before the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution.

It has continued to be used without being aligned to the aspiration of the 1995 Constitution like Article 26, which states in blanket terms, that the government shall pay compensation to any person who suffers damage as a result on the exercise of the powers of compulsory acquisition,” she noted.

She stressed that Article 26 is a more progressive provision in as far as it provides for adequate and prompt compensation prior to government occupation of the land that has been identified.

According to a report by the Sectoral Committee on Land and Parliamentary Affairs, the bill doesn’t introduce anything new warranting an amendment to the Constitution.

The committee further suggests that in case there is need to prescribe the matters contained in the bill, these can be inserted in the Land Acquisition Act since they are more suited there.

Namubiru noted that Article 42 of the Constitution provides that any person appearing before a body must get fair and justice treatment; which is lacking in the proposed amendment.

Under the proposed amendment, a decision would be taken by government to compulsorily acquire and take possession of land and an appeal against that decision would take place after land has already been acquired by government.

Namubiru said with such a law in place, it would be unlikely that the aggrieved party gets a fair treatment since government would have taken the land already, saying that this already disempowers courts.

The chairperson, Uganda Land Alliance, Frederick Kawooya said they want government to work with all stakeholders during consultations on what they intend to amend in the law.

They recommended that Parliament should amend the Land Acquisition Act to align it with the spirit and aspirations of Article 26, of the Constitution to cater for the interests of land owners before government interests.

The CSOs want disclosure of compensation packages to the project affected persons, dispute resolution mechanisms to address conflicts that might arise during the process and mechanisms for expeditious impartial hearing of parties in dispute over land acquisition.

They said government must respect, uphold and promote Article 26, by undertaking free, prior and informed consent of parties whose land it wishes to acquire, establish special land tribunals to handle disputes related to compulsory acquisition, reform and strengthen land administration and to revise the rates of valuation to suit market price.

Moses Onen from Participatory Ecological Land Use Management(PELUM) Uganda, said until government deals with speculators, many projects will continue to be affected.

“People who always know about these projects are government employees. They always run and buy land where those projects are to implemented and ask for a lot of money in compensation thus delaying the projects,” he said  

Related Articles

More From The Author

Related articles