UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | According to The Independent, lawyers have filed a petition with the Constitutional Court challenging attempts by the government to force people to give up property for public utility projects.
Led by Daniel Omara, Advocates for Natural Resources and Development (ANARDE), and Resources Rights Africa Limited, the lawyers sued the Attorney General and the Uganda National Roads Authority.
According to the petition, the Land Acquisition Act gives the High Court powers to order the payment of compensation money in courts and that the government may after that occupy and use the land.
The government has always relied on the Land Acquisition Act of 1965 to acquire land and put up public utility projects such as roads, schools, hospitals.
Through their attorneys, the petitioners claim that the Land Acquisition Act is unconstitutional because it prohibits citizens the chance to bargain for their rights and property.
The provisions contravene Articles 26, 21, 22, 28 and Objective XIV of the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution, The Independent reports.
The lawyers now want the court to rule that section six, clause five of the Land Acquisition Act, is unconstitutional. They claim that the government’s actions in applying for and seeking orders depositing compensation money in court for lands they acquire compulsorily contradicts the Constitution.
The government is about to start the oil and gas pipeline project in Hoima district and the construction of Hoima-Buhimba Road. The government has been evaluating the land it intends to use and carrying out inspections to determine the current market value of the land such that the owner gets compensated with that amount.
The Constitutional Court has summoned the AG and UNRA to respond to the assertions against them.
“You are hereby required to file an answer within seven days after the court served the petition on you. Should you fail to file the answer before the mentioned date, the petitioner may proceed with the petition which may be determined in your absence,” reads the court documents.
According to The Independent, John Mugisha, an entrepreneur, sued UNRA in the High Court for undervaluing his property in Namugongo Kira-Matugga Road, along the Kasangati Road.
Mugisha claimed that the government undervalued his land by giving him 2.8 billion shillings. According to his valuer, the land was worth 4.6 billion shillings. He then asked the court to order UNRA to pay him another 2.1 billion shillings for the property affected by the project.
READ MORE LIKE THIS: