By Andrew Irumba
The government of Uganda has revealed that it willl involve LC V Chaipersons in compulsory acquisition of land for infrastructural development across the country.
This stunning resoultion was revealed by the Minister of State for Housing, and Urban Development, Isaac Musumba, during the nationwide consultations on the draft land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation policy.
Musumba, while addressing stakeholders from Busoga and Bukedi in Jinja district, revealed that unlike the status quo where implementing agencies deal directly with the project affected persons (PAPs), local leaders, mainly village chairpersons and parish chiefs, will be at the forefront in the compensation process because they have information regarding the residents.
Musumba noted that most implementers lack enough time to sensitize PAPs on the relevancy of infrastructural projects.
He added that such officials will be facilitated and trained in public relations skills and tasked to account in case locals fail to peacefully welcome government projects.
Musumba also noted after receiving suggestions from different stakeholders, ministry of lands seeks to redefine the issue of vulnerability whereby PAPs shall receive an extra allowance to enable them settle in other communities after government taking over their land.
The Jinja Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Erick Sakwa, said that implementers should engage PAPs during the surveying process. “Implementers should engage PAPs throughout the surveying process to ensure that, there is proper accountability of the land and avoid cases of misrepresentation,” Sakwa says.
Charles Kiwanuka, the lands officer of Iganga district said that government should ensure timely compensation for the PAPs.
Kiwanuka said that “Citing an example of the Standard Guage Railway (SGR) where people have taken close to three years without compensation, it’s actually devastating for someone to halt development on their land for a long time without certainty on whether they will be compensated or not.”
Suleiman Baraza, the RDC of Mbale said that some implementers forcefully evict PAPs without following the rightful procedures, noting that the policy on compulsory land acquisition should be in conformity with the constitution.