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Opposition and NRM Unite in Chua to Protect their Land Rights

Robinson Onecan Acen (Independent), Charles Onen Sali (Independent), Silver Oyet (Independent), Godfrey Luwo (NRM) and Margret Lamwaka Odwar (Independent) are among those who endorsed the pledge following concerns being raised by voters over the current moves over the status quo of land ownership.

Audio 4



Parliamentary candidates for the Chua East County in Kitgum district have endorsed the land rights protection as their top priority agenda in their campaign manifestos.  

Robinson Onecan Acen (Independent), Charles Onen Sali (Independent), Silver Oyet (Independent), Godfrey Luwo (NRM) and Margret Lamwaka Odwar (Independent) are among those who endorsed the pledge following concerns being raised by voters over the current moves over the status quo of land ownership.

  Majority of their campaigns have been dominated with a quest by electorate who are in anticipation that the 11th parliament will amend the land law to shorten the processes involved in land acquisition by allowing the government to start the projects pending negotiations on compensations with the affected persons.

Robinson Onencan Acen vowed to reverse any plans by cabinet to table any land amendment bill saying he will ensure that the current constitutional and legal status quo in regards to land ownership where land belongs to the people is maintained.   According to Article 273 of the Constitution, land in Uganda belongs to the people while Article 26(2) stipulates that: No person shall be compulsorily deprived of property or any interest in right over property of any description except where taking possession is necessary for public use.

Acen expressed fear that such a law once amended and assented too will deprive the people of Chua East that covers the Sub Counties of Mucwini, Namukora, Omiya Anyima and Orom off their vast Tim Palukok and Lipan hunting grounds that is presumed idle by government.   

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Onen Charles Sali, an independent candidate says the government as an acquiring authority should comply with prompt and adequate compensation of landowners, prior to taking possession or acquisition of the land required for development. He says the current law which allows negotiation and adequate compensation of the land owner before the project takes off, has created an opportunity for the government to swiftly take away people's land.

Silver Oyet also an independent candidate says although customary land rights are protected under the Constitution but in practice, these rights are often violated due to political propaganda and weak enforcement of policies.   Oyet for instance, promised to compel parliament to pass a bill that will facilitate undertaking all measures to register customary land rights in Chua East county and northern Uganda in its entirety as an alternative to have formal documents for their land. 

This according to Oyet will bar land speculators from acquiring land since unregistered land is prone to easily being grabbed besides helping indigenous communities use these certificates as collaterals to access small credits.

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Kitgum Woman MP Margret Lamwaka Odwar also contesting as an independent candidate reiterates the customary land certificates registration initiative saying it will go a long way in protecting the most vulnerable persons who mainly include widows, orphans and persons with disability without compromising their rights to land ownership.