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Museveni takes land awareness campaign to radio stations

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President Yoweri Museveni today will appear on the Voice of Kigezi as he kicks off a country-wide campaign to sensitise Ugandans on land issues, sources from State House say.

For this week, the sources say President Museveni will appear on other radio stations in Mbarara, Masaka, Mubende, Hoima and Fort Portal, among them Radio West, Voice of Tooro, Spice FM, Point FM and Radio Buddu.

Among the issues he will talk about as he appears on radio stations in Western and Central Uganda is the proposed Land Amendment Bill 2017 that has raised eyebrows within the Ugandan public, including Members of Parliament.

The President, according to the sources, is also expected to respond to queries from members of the public who will call direct into the studios.

In July the Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana, presented the Bill for its First Reading during a session chaired by the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017 intends to amend Article 26 of the Constitution which provides for the right of persons to own property and how it can be acquired by government.

The Amendment Bill, 2017 also provides for how government can acquire disputed land for infrastructural development and investment projects.

“The Bill seeks to enable government, or a local government to deposit with court, compensation awarded by the government for any property declared for compulsory acquisition,” said Rukutana as he presented the bill to Parliament in July.

At the time he stated that the purpose of the bill is to resolve the current problem of delayed implementation of government infrastructure and investment projects due to disputes arising out of the compulsory land acquisition process.

In 2014, eighty six refinery affected people in Hoima district moved to mount legal action against government for inadequate compensation rates and violations of basic land rights as guaranteed by the 1995 Constitution, the Land Act 1998, the Land Acquisition Act 1965 and other international treaties and policies applicable to Uganda.

The residents, supported by Africa Institute for Energy Governance and other local organizations, fault the government for moving ahead to acquire 29.34 square kilometers of their land in Hoima district to build an oil refinery without adequate compensation for land and other properties. They are also unhappy with the government’s delay in resettling those who asked for resettlement.

In the north residents of Amuru district are faulting government for wanting to give Madhvani group land measuring 10,000 hectares without their consent. The company wants to grow for sugarcane growing. Government says the project will give residents in the area jobs but also help the country boost sugar production.

In May this year, a 10-member Commission appointed by Museveni and chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire kicked off its work to query into the efficiency of the laws, policies and the whole processes of land registration, acquisition, administration and management in Uganda.

The Commission will also investigate and inquire the effectiveness of the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) in administering public land and relevant bodies in the reservation of wetlands, forests, road reserves, national parks among other gazetted spaces.

The Commission is yet to finish its assignment from which it will write a report to be presented to President Museveni.

 

 

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