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Huge compensations overwhelming project affected persons - experts

By Andante Okanya, Edward Anyoli

Added 17th September 2019 12:12 PM

The revelation was made on Friday by a team from Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET), in a presentation to the land probe commission in Kampala.

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L-R Research Officer LASPNET Badru Walusansa, Executive Director Legal Aid Service Providers Network Dr. Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa and James Nkuubi appearing before the Land inquiry commission at archives center Kampala on Friday 13th September 2019.Photo by Ivan Kabuye

The revelation was made on Friday by a team from Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET), in a presentation to the land probe commission in Kampala.

LAND COMPENSATION

KAMPALA - Experts have warned that the awarding of huge monies to project affected persons (PAPs) has bared no fruit, claiming that the persons get overwhelmed by the huge sums and end up spending extravagantly.

The revelation was made on Friday by a team from Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET), in a presentation to the land probe commission in Kampala.

The team led by executive director Sylvia Namubiru presented a situational analysis on compulsory land acquisition management in Uganda.

Lead consultant and lawyer James Nkubi asked the government to institute an enabling environment for those compensated to cope with their new-found millionaire status.

“Some people are shocked when they turn from paupers to millionaires overnight.

The government should establish a rehabilitation and resettlement agenda that includes sensitizing those compensated on how to utilize their money,” said Nkubi.

LASPNET board vice president Vincent Mutonera narrated that in an incident in Hoima district; part of the oil-rich Albertine region, an awardee used several liters of beer to wash his two motorbikes.

Mutonera said the excited awardee also bought several liters of soda and ordered that it be fed to his livestock and goats.

Nkubi said some of the PAPs are blackmailed and compelled to inflate compensation proposals. 

He claimed that the blackmailers are usually government officials, who take the huge sums, yet the PAPs are naive and truthful.

“It is total state capture by the mafia. The compensation rates are made in Kampala and forcibly impressed upon the illiterate PAPs,” said Nkubi.

He also advocated for strengthening the office of the Chief Government Valuer, saying it should be independent and have a countrywide presence.

Nkubi requested the government to develop a project community communication strategy, to enable the PAPs to have an input in the final decision making.  

The lead consultant also stated that the government should clarify what institutes public interest.

However, deputy lead counsel John Bosco Suuza said the issue of public interest is a matter solely vested in the Executive which acts for the good of the people. 

Probe Commissioner Frederick Ruhindi, said, “I am in support of a resettlement plan and not cash compensation.”

Probe chairperson Justice Catherine Bamugemereire commended the team for an insightful and informative presentation.

 

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