The Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II has reiterated opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment on land ownership.
The amendment bill, now before parliament, seeks to amend Article 26 of the Constitution to provide for compulsory acquisition of land for development projects, pending negotiations on compensation with the affected persons.
The article in its current form sets conditions for prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation before the compulsory acquisition of property for public use.
Lands minister Betty Amongi says the current law, which allows negotiation and compensation of the land owner before the project takes off, slows down government programmes particularly projects related to infrastructure development.
Amongi says that the proposed amendment seeks to resolve the problem of delayed implementation of government infrastructure and investment projects due to land disputes.
Speaking at the official opening of the 25th Buganda Lukiiko sitting at Bulange-Mengo yesterday, Kabaka Mutebi cautioned that developments on private land should only take off after agreement between government and land owners.
“This agreement should be fair and when people are fully compensated. Here in Buganda, we have land on which traditional sites are (Etaaka elye’noono) which we think is very important and crucial in the Kingdom and all people of Uganda.” Kabaka said.
He added that it would be prudent if there are plans to use this kind of land for the country’s development purposes, to negotiate with the owners fairly.
This is the second time the Kabaka is speaking out on the proposed amendment. Early this month while officiating at a function in Lubiri-Mengo, the Kabaka described the proposed land amendment as a pain and poses an existential threat to the future generation.
Members of the opposition groups in parliament are currently holding countrywide sensitization meetings encouraging Ugandans to reject the amendment.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire recently asked parliament’s Legal committee for more time before appearing again over the matter.