Police have discussed with the leaders from Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) on how they will carry out campaigns against the proposed Land Amendment Bill.
After reports emerged that Cabinet had cleared a proposal for the amendment Bill to the Land Act, to allow forceful acquisition of land and compensate land or property owners later, FDC vowed to launch a campaign against it.
In a July 20 statement which indicates that the opposition party was represented by Muwanga Kivumbi and Ssemujju Nganda, the meeting focused on the proposed convening of Land Amendment proposals and how police shall provide security during the meetings.
“During the meeting we agreed that the written notice of convening the meetings which is usually given to then police should be delivered in time to allow police to prepare adequately to secure the meetings,” the statement signed by AIGP Erasmus Twaruhukwa, Director Human Rights and Legal Services partly reads.
Twaruhukwa further states that although the Public Order Management Act shows that the police should be notified in at least 3 days prior; both parties (FDC and police) agreed that the notice should be delivered earlier to avoid delays.
He also maintains that with FDC leaders, they agreed that the proposed consultative meetings only focus on the Constitution Amendment Bill.
Why FDC is against the bill
FDC spokesperson Paul Mwiru holds that the Bill contravenes Article 92 of the 1995 Constitution which bars Parliament from passing a law to alter the decision or judgment of Court.
He also argues that the new amendment is only a scheme to acquire people’s land and property by the government which doesn’t prioritize paying creditors.
“Uganda government has no record or history of paying its creditors on time and given its debt being at Sh37 trillion, 63 percent international and 37 percent local, forceful seizure of land may make government not treat payment as its priority since such payments will not be appropriated by Parliament,” Mwiru said when reports emerged.
FDC also believes that forceful seizure amounts to indirect borrowing which will require Parliamentary approval which will still bring bureaucratic tendencies.
The party therefore urges government to drop the proposed bill saying it may spark unrest.
However when asked to comment on the issue following the opposition party’s stand, the government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa rebutted the opposition claim that the amendments are intended to forcefully grab peoples’ land and property.
“We know that people are entitled to own land but government is as well entitled to land acquisition as long as it compensates the owner; however people have been misusing their rights to stiffly government programs which the amendments tends to do away with.”
She further noted that in the new arrangements, once the Land owner isn’t satisfied with the value levied by the government valuer, the owner will petition Court over the same meanwhile the project is taking place and once Court gives its verdict then government goes on to compensate.