Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana

Government is tomorrow expected to hold a national dialogue on compulsory land acquisition that is aimed at discussing proposals on the upcoming land reforms in Uganda.

In July 2017, the Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana, tabled Constitution Amendment Bill No. 13 of 2017 to amend Article 26 of the Uganda Constitution. The Bill purportedly aimed at resolving the current problem of delayed implementation of Government infrastructure and investment projects due to disputes arising out of the compulsory land acquisition process.

It also aimed at enabling government, or a local government to deposit with court, compensation awarded by the Government for any property declared for compulsory acquisition of land and empower government to take possession of the declared property upon depositing the compensation awarded for the property with court, pending determination by the court of the disputed compensation awarded to the property owner or person having an interest in or right over the property.

The bill however received criticism saying the proposed amendment contravenes Article 24 of the Constitution because it seeks to deprive citizens of their survival and this should be construed as torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Also read:https://eagle.co.ug/2017/06/29/cabinet-endorses-compulsory-acquisition-land-infrastructure-development.html

Alluding to analysts, the amendment was also against Article 128 of the Constitution as it seeks to empower the executive to involve courts in matters that are not before it yet. It is therefore upon raising of such criticisms that the bill was withdrawn from parliament.

It wanted to force property/land owners to accept every decision of the chief government valuer (CGV) or use the CGV’s decisions on compensation as basis to deprive citizens of their property.

According to statement released by the minister of land and urban development, Betty Among, a new bill has been crafted to bring in conformity with article 26, 24 of the constitution of Uganda.

“The new bill will present a mechanism for government to access land without depriving owners, the right to prompt fair and adequate compensation. The land acquisition act needs to be reviewed,” she said in a statement adding that the dialogue will take place at Skyz hotel Naguru.

She said government is in process of developing land acquisition and resettlement and rehabilitation policy saying it this process will solve key issues related to land.

Among said during the dialogue, everyone will be availed with opportunity look at and discuss both the 2017 land amendment bill and land acquisition bill 2019, “land acquisition law will be reinforced by valuation law that is being drafted by government,” she added