President Yoweri Museveni Wednesday evening addressed a press conference at State House in Entebbe where he strongly condemned what he called government enemies and saboteurs of government progress, — those opposed to the amendment of Article 26 of the constitution.
The President during the press conference said that his group has been “poisoning” government’s message about the need for the amendment, in order to ease on the strain of accomplishing government projects.
This, he said, was the reason he launched a radio campaign where he toured various parts of the country to explain why government needs an advantage in acquiring private land for its project.
Critics of the amendment, among them FDC’s Col Dr. Kizza Besigye believe that the amendment is a government ploy to seize people’s land – “their life.”
Others say that government will utilize the law to pay less for people’s land and deny them opportunity to price it themselves.
The amendment seeks to allow government power to take over private land whether or not the owner has consented to the compensation. The latter can appeal the compensation in courts but with the project ongoing.
Museveni dismissed the critics’ claims stressing that he himself is a land owner and has had to part with his own land to allow government projects.
On the Mpigi – Sembabule road, Museveni said, he gave out 21 acres of his land to government and was paid Shs. 69 million.
“There are foolish people like Museveni, who don’t care much about making a lot of money,” he joked.
“I was paid Shs. 69 million for my land and I was very happy; not only with the money but also the fact that now when I am driving to my farm in Kisozi, I can afford a nap in my car because the road is smooth.”
Some “greedy” Ugandans on the other hand he said, are hell bent to loot government and don’t care about stalling its projects.
Borrowing a Runyankole saying, the president said these people “ask for a dog’s horn” for their land.
“A dog’s horn I impossible to find; but that is what they ask government in exchange for their land.”
Naming some of these individuals who have stalled and sometimes failed government projects, Museveni said, “They ask for laughable values for their land. Sometimes they collude with people in government and promise to share with them the loot.”
The contentious clause that has so far been opposed by many including NRM MPs, Museveni said is being bettered to include such provisions as government depositing its valuer’s price initially to the land owner, who if dissatisfied can go to court and challenge it.
The clause as it is today, Museveni said was humiliating and dangerous to Ugandans.
“It will allow people to paralyze youth programs. Remember, the longer the project takes, the more costly it becomes.”
“It also tarnished our image as a country outside. Contractors will not want to come here if they know that locals can stop them.”