To our MPs: Hands-off our land
ESAFF Uganda today joined voices with other CSOs in raising concerns regarding the implications of Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 13/2017 which was tabled in Parliament on 13th July 2017. The Bill seeks to amend Article 26(2) of the Constitution by allowing government to possess land before prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation in case the land owner disputes the amount awarded.
ESAFF Uganda and other CSOs called on Members of Parliament to reject this Bill and, complying with Article 26 (2) (b), make laws which provide for prior and prompt payment of adequate compensation. Suggesting that the first step would be to revise the Land Acquisition Act to conform with Article 26 and the Constitutional court decision that declared provisions that sought to take away the right to prior compensation unconstitutional. Fast track the Land Acquisition Bill and pass it in a form that conforms to constitutional provisions on property rights. ESAFF Uganda and other CSOs also demanded that government operationalizes land tribunals and concerned ministries allocate enough human and financial resources to courts so that they can speedily handle cases, including land disputes. Stating that this will ensure that projects begin on time even where there is disagreement over compensation amounts. ESAFF Uganda and other CSOs further demanded that government addresses corruption and speculation that are the real causes of delay in government projects. Addressing corruption would mean less money is lost to unscrupulous people and more is left for projects, including compensation of displaced people. Further, speculation by insider government people should be dealt with to ensure property prices do not go too high.