UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Hon. Judith Nabakooba, Minister of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, has suggested new land legislation that will penalise anyone convicted of wrongful land eviction of Ugandans from their land with harsh penalties.
Minister Nabakooba wants such criminals to be refused bail after being apprehended and their punishments harsher when convicted.
“If someone has evicted people and destroyed their houses and properties without following the law, we need a stronger law so that this person is not charged with just Malicious Damage. They should have no bail…we need everyone else to know that things are different this time,” she said.
On Wednesday last week, during a broadcast interview, the minister stated that these recommendations and others are contained in a thorough report that she and her staff are working on and would send to President Yoweri Museveni shortly.
Nabakooba recently went on a field trip to rural areas in Central Uganda, where she dealt with multiple incidents of land evictions, halted some of them, and ordered several arrests.
During the journey, Nabakooba witnessed lawlessness, unlike anything she had ever seen before.
“It seems that Ugandans have completely lost respect for the law. Because back in the day, land evictions used to be straight forward. One went and obtained a court order, and even after getting one, they didn’t proceed with the eviction right away; they first consulted local leaders and engaged the law enforcement,” she said.
Hon ,Judith Nabakooba added: “But today, God help us, I don’t know where we are headed. People just come with a letter from a lawyer ordering people off their land. The lawyers have now replaced judges!” “Someone comes with a lawyer’s letter, saying I am giving you two weeks to leave. I found this in Mubende. Others just come with soldiers claiming ownership of land even before the land title has been transferred to their names.”
Nonetheless, the minister claims that such evictions are entirely the government’s fault, although criminals carry them out.
“Even the soldiers and police who enforce these evictions, they are not doing so on behalf of government. Some of them are just immoral because they are also people from our communities. So when you approach them and bribe them they will do your bidding without even informing their seniors.”
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