Judith Nabakooba, the Minister of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, says that following a fact-finding mission on the land by the government, the president has accepted to buy off the land in favor of the residents to allow them to settle peacefully. She says that the government will process land titles for all Bibanja holders on the contested land and also compensate them for the destruction caused to their properties.
On Tuesday, three witnesses including Peter Amara, Namuli's son-in-law, Kyle Lubega, and Richard Bizibira from Lubega & Buzibira Company Advocates, the city law firm that acted on behalf of the claimant gave parallel testimonies while appearing jointly before the MPs.
While appearing before the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authority, and State Enterprises – COSASE on Thursday last week, Kyle Lubega, a co-owner of the law firm first told the lawmakers that in 2020, Namuli walked to their chambers to seek legal aid after the Government dragged on with her reparation.
It is said that about 532 million tonnes of rare earth elements have been identified in an area stretching a distance of 40-kilometres from the Igombe and Makuutu in Bugweri, Nakigo and Bulamagi in Iganga district and Imanyiro and Buwaaya sub-counties in Mayuge district. This area has almost 5000 households.
Johnbosco Habumugisha, the deputy managing director of EACOP told Uganda Radio Network that there are delays in the compensation processes due to lack of National Identification Cards by some of the poject affected persons yet the ID is a pre-requisite for the PAPs to be compensated.
Speaking to URN on Monday, the residents, said that following the increased water levels in both River Nile and Lake Victoria, the authorities at the dam resolved to release excess water to protect their equipment from damage. Residents claim that the excessive water washed away their homes, gardens and other projects.
Since 2018, the government has not compensated the project-affected persons yet they stopped using their land. The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) had also promised to start compensation in December 2020 or early January 2021.
Residents are bitter that the stone quarrying activities have caused huge damage to their houses, animals and plants, leaving them in poverty. The most affected areas include Lule, Kanyogogga, Nsaka, Ssebagala and Lugono villages in Semuto town council.
The Adhoc committee on land compensation led by Veronica Eragu Bichetero has been investigating the compensation of property owners by the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development in Bunyoro and Buganda regions.
“Persons found to have fraudulently reclaimed properties for which they had already been compensated should not only lose the property but also be prosecuted for misrepresentation, obtain property by false pretence and fraudulent acquisition of property,” the report reads.
Veronica Eragu Bichetero, the Committee Chairperson asked the commission members to avail a three-year compensation list, but the commission pleaded to say they have none and searching for the files were difficult.
Norbert Mao, the DP president General, says that the party is vigilant about what is going on under this project.
He says they intend to use their party branches in the affected districts to ensure that they fight for the rights of the property owners and ensure they get adequate and timely compensation.
The Bamba-Babwisi people occupied about 125 square kilometres of land covering areas near the Saara stream to River Semuliki through River Lamia to the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Some of them settled in areas within Bwamba county within Bundibugyo district.