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NRM Caucus Rejects Land Amendment Bill

Members of Parliament from the National Resistance Movement party on Wednesday rejected the proposed Land Amendment Bill 2017.

Caucus members met President Museveni at State House Entebbe on the controversial Bill which seeks to revise article 26 (b) of the Constitution to give government powers to compulsorily acquire private land for public infrastructure.

According to sources who attended the meeting, MPs, many of whom had already publicly disagreed with the government position on the Bill and indeed faced resistance from their constituencies, told Museveni that the bill could not be accepted in its current form.

“The amendment of 26 (b) is poisonous in its current state. We are not for it and our position was clear,” a member who asked not to be named said.

MPs told Museveni, Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana and Land Minister Betty Amongi that the Land Act should instead be strengthened to cure unnecessary delay of infrastructure projects.

It was agreed in the meeting that a special court or a tribunal should be put in place to handle only land cases.

That the tribunal should conclude on any case within 3 months in case  government and the owner of the land disagree on the value and the latter goes to court.

That the highest appeal should be High Court in case either party is not satisfied with the tribunal ruling. The Appeal should also only take a maximum of 3 days.

After realizing that MPs were not going to concede, Museveni agreed with new proposals saying, “I only wanted a solution for the unnecessary delays. If the new ideas can solve it, I have no problem,” the President said.

“The color of the cat, white or black doesn’t matter; so long as it can catch a rat.”

A 10 man committee to be led by Vice President Edward Ssekandi was put in place to develop the Caucus position and report back within 2 weeks.

Other members of the committee are Rukutana and Amongi, Ajuri County MP Denis Hamson Obua, Jackson Kafuuzi and Gaster Mugoya among others.

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