President Yoweri Museveni has condemned people who make fake and exorbitant claims as compensation for their pieces of land that government wants to acquire to pave way for infrastructure development programmes.
The President made the comments when he featured in a 2-hour live talk show on Point FM radio station in Mubende Municipality, Mubende district. He is currently on a countrywide tour to demystify the lies that have been spread by looters and Government opponents over the issue of fair land compensation.
“Most of the countries, especially those in Africa, do not address land ownership in their constitutions. The NRM Government planned for the people to ensure that they get fair treatment in land matters because the Movement looks ahead and cares for wananchi. Government has got the right to take over land for public utility such as roads and electricity supply. All this has to be done through fair and correct compensation,” he reiterated.
He said that Government does not under estimate the value of land in question because professional Government valuer`s determine the value.
President Museveni observed that there are some selfish and greedy people who exaggerate their claims in order to fleece Government. He cited a one Kahirwa of Ntungamo district in South Western Uganda as an example, who demanded for Shs.1.2 billion for one acre of land as compensation during the planned building of an electricity transmission line. He noted that if the claim had been honored, the taxpayer would be compelled to pay Shs. 787 billion in that power project. He observed the high figure is sufficient to extend the power grid to all the Sub- Counties in the country that have no electricity supply yet.
In an another example of greed, the President talked of a person in Kyegegwa district in the Rwenzori Sub-Region in Western Uganda, who has been demanding for Shs. 100 million for an acre of land when in actual sense the real value per acre in the district is only Shs. 3.5 million. He said people that district have suffered lack of water due to such greedy person. He, therefore, vowed that Government will not allow this state of affairs to continue and assured Ugandans of Government full commitment to compensating all genuine claimants. He said people who choose to go to the tribunal would be assured of getting their additional approved funds as soon as the tribunals have completed the process.
Mr. Museveni castigated radio stations for failing to put to task people who spread lies and attempt to glorify fake claims. He warned that such people would not be allowed to continue spreading lies among the population through radio stations. He said that the NRM Government gave people the powers to elect their leaders and as such wananchi should use those powers to report those who make fake claims, to authorities
Regarding people who had been evicted from Bukwiya in Mubende where they were involved in gold mining activities, the President, while criticizing security personnel for using harsh eviction methods, observed that the claimants in the area were not genuine. He, however, assured people who are licensed to do gold mining that they would be allowed to proceed with their business. He also said the same arrangement would be observed in Busia, Kaabong and Buhweju districts.
Mr. Museveni said the Government would not allow landlords to evict bibanja holders and advised bibanja holders to pay their land dues to their landlords. He promised a visit to Butologo in Mubende district and other areas affected by illegal land evictions. He revealed that Government would cancel all the illegal land titles and that those perpetrating and harassing people, would be arrested.
While disclosing that the Government has donated 250 land titles to people in Kibaale district, Mr. Museveni pledged Government assistance to bibanja holders to payi off their landlords in order to secure land titles.
The President called on the people of Mubende district in particular and the country at large to protect wetlands that he referred to as water granaries. He observed that wetlands are the source of water to facilitate irrigation. He said plans are underway to spread irrigation to all corners of the country to ensure harvests all the year round. He lauded the successful irrigation projects in Mubuku in Western Uganda and Doho Rice Scheme in Eastern Region.