President Yoweri Museveni has said that government has the right to takeover land for public use, urging Ugandans to cooperate with government for development.
He also 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 on Saturday.
He is currently on a countrywide tour to educate Ugandans on land matters.
“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 Shs1.2 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 Shs787 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.
He added 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.
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.
While disclosing that the Government has donated 250 land titles to people in Kibaale district, Museveni pledged Government assistance to bibanja holders to pay 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.