Erute North county Member of Parliament in Lira District has expressed displeasure with the proposed land amendment bill by the government, saying he is not convinced with the way it will be implemented if signed by president Museveni into law.
Mr. Charles Angiro Gutumoi who is the shadow lands minister was speaking at the commissioning ceremony of streets completed in Lira Municipality under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) Project on Thursday.
“The bill is contradicting because it partly gives government some powers to grab land that belongs to the citizens,” Angiro said.
In the presence of the Lands Minister, Hon. Betty Amongi Akena, the opposition FDC MP claims it will be a battle between him and the lands minister if the contradicting bill turns into a law, saying he is one person who is against any act that may contribute to forceful access of land by government.
“Forcefully acquiring land from someone without compensating him or her is first of all a criminal act and this is going to be a real war,” Angiro claimed.
The biting remarks from the veteran MP come at a time when the proposed land amendment bill still hangs in Parliament undiscussed.
The lands, Housing and Urban development Minister Hon. Betty Amongi Akena was Thursday commissioning three streets including Mama Miria road, Ambohai road and Awange-mola road completed under USMID project funded by World Bank at a cost of Shs12bn.
Three other road construction work for Oyam, Rwot Aler among others was also launched in the same occasion.
Lands minister speaks out
The Lands, Housing and urban development Minister Betty Amongi in her response to the attack said the land amendment bill seeks compensation for the land owner, basing on the value attached to it.
Amongi said the bills mandates the government to acquire land after peacefully negotiating with the owner/owners but not forcefully grabbing it as it has been claimed by the opposition.
She noted she knows of how of the land tenure system in Uganda, which gives her a better position to handle the matter.
Minister added that she is well informed about how central the land is to the people of Uganda.
“I come from Lango where I know that the land is customarily owned, so I can’t mess up with the issues pertaining land,” Amongi remarked
In a new twist of event, Amongi, however, revealed that if an individual among majority who agreed to be compensated denies to be compensated, he/she will be advised to go to court while the government continues to use the disputed land for development.
Mid this year during a cabinet retreat, there was an announcement to review the current land act, which shall mandate the government to acquire land with ease in any part of the county to use it for any development.
The announcement attracted nationwide condemnation from critics and the opposition key figures, claiming the move was a tactic by NRM government to grab peoples land.
Among those who criticized the moves were; FDC party ironman Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye and section of the opposition MPs.
Dr.Besigye, a treason suspect and known for his defiance campaign urged Ugandans to reject the move by mobilizing machetes to resist the land grabbing.
Story provided by David Owiny