The Inter- Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) has advised Cabinet and Members of Parliament not to amend Article 26 of the Constitution, which seeks to empower government acquire land for infrastructure development before compensating the owners.
The bill was tabled in Parliament last month by the Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana and seeks to insert Clauses 3 and 4 to allow government to acquire land in lieu of compensation based on the Governments Valuer’s report.
In a press conference held at the IRCU headquarters in Mengo Pastor Daniel Mate, the leader of Seventh Day Adventist Church said the move infringes on people’s rights in respect to land ownership, and might lead to a political and constitutional crisis.
“We appreciate the fact that the government wants land for capital development but the proposed method of acquisition violates the rights of Ugandans for whom the developments are intended,” Dr. Mate, who read a statement on behalf of IRCU chairperson Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje, said.
Observers say that churches and mosques own big chunks of land that are not in use and that the proposed bill has put them on tension, with fears the land may be taken should the bill become enacted.
IRCU Secretary General Joshua Kitakule said Article 26 ably caters for government’s interests to acquire land without violating any individual’s rights.