The Electricity Disputes Tribunal (EDT) has given the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) a one month ultimatum to agree on compensation values with all people who lost their property as a result of the construction of the 134kmMusita-Namayingo power line in 2013.
During an Electricity Disputes Tribunal hearing on Monday, 15th January 2018, at Namayingo District Chambers, the Project Affected Persons through their representative Martin Sikuku said REA had failed to meet its obligation of re-assessing and re-valuing of properties lost by over 200 claimants.
“Your Lord, since the last time we were here in June 2017, REA has never come back to meet us as it was promised. Some of our colleagues have even died before they receive their compensation,” said Sikuku.
He added that to-date majority of the affected people, especially in the sub-counties of Mutumba, Banda and Buhemba had not been notified by REA on how much each would get.
That when REA came to the area for assessment, many beneficiaries had been left out after the first assessment with only 15% assessed. Compensation at the time of had been made without consideration of seasonal crops and some of the land can’t be used anymore due to the new developments.
In a Tribunal case, Mayende Fred Onaro and 62 others Verses Rural Electrification Agency and the Attorney General, the complainant accuses the respondents of failing to meet their obligation of timely compensation for damages caused to their crops and properties during the construction of the Musita-Namayingo line.
In her submission to the Tribunal, State Attorney Cheptoris Sylvia, who represented the two respondents informed the Tribunal chaired by Charles Okoth-Owor that REA was getting organized to reach an amicable understanding with the affected persons.
“My Client (REA) has informed me that they will need at least two months to come to ground to deal with these issues,” said Cheptoris.
However, the EDT Chairman Charles Okoth-Owor gave REA only one month arguing that natural justice demanded for timely and adequate compensation.
“We do not want to see a scenario in future where people sabotage and refuse government programs because of fear of not getting timely compensation. So REA should come here before 31st January 2018 to meet all the complainants and agree on the compensation values and rates,” said Okoth-Owor.
Okoth-Owor added that efforts should be made by REA to show the claimants a clear road map on how they will receive their compensation and agree on how much each should get.
The matter was adjourned to 28th February 2018 when REA and the Attorney General will reappear before the Tribunal to give an update on how far they have gone with the issue.