Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has called for the amendment of
the Land Acquisition Act of 1965.
Bamugemereire says that the law does not clearly define the person
who has powers to acquire land compulsorily.
She gives an example of Tanzania where powers over land are vested
in the President.
//Cue in: “We have a…”
Cue out: “…called eminent domain”//
The land acquisition Act gives the government power to take over private land
without the willingness of the owner for purposes of public interest, public
security and morality among other reasons.
Bamugemereire who is also the Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into
Land Matters was on Wednesday speaking at Sheraton Hotel at the launch of a
study “Situational analysis on Compulsory Land Acquisition Management in
Uganda” conducted by Legal Aid Service Providers’ Network -LASPNET.
Bamugemereire also adds that the law needs to explain what public
interest to avoid conflict when land is compulsorily acquired on behalf of a private
The Executive Director LASPNET Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa also says
that the current law does not provide for procedural rights during land
She says that the law should be amended to include rights to be
heard, to appeal and prompt, prior and fair compensation before the state
compulsory acquires people’s land.
//Cue in: “In our findings…”
Cue out: “…an ambiguous law”//
The LASPNET study revealed a lack of comprehensive policy on
valuation and compensation in Compulsory Land acquisition.
The study also found that people were dissatisfied by the
compensation process. They cited issues of delays and under compensation due to
Namubiru says that further intervention is required to have clear
standards to follow in compensation. She adds that the office of the chief
government valuer should be properly established by law. Currently, the office operates
under the Ministry of Lands.
//Cue in: “But this has…”
Cue out: “…of land acquisition”//
Last month, the Minister of lands, housing and urban development announced
that the government had amended the Land Acquisition Act of 1965 and introduced
a Land Acquisition Tribunal. The tribunal will listen to valuation disputes
from persons whose land has been valued by the chief government valuer before
compulsorily taking over the land.
In 2017 government tabled in Parliament the Constitution
(Amendment) Bill, 2017 which provided for how the government could acquire
disputed land for infrastructural development and investment projects.
The Bill sought to enable government, or a local government to
deposit with the court, compensation awarded by the government for any property
declared for compulsory acquisition.