Uganda to facilitate land nationalization
(Ecofin Agency) - In the framework of its great achievements programme, the Ugandan government wishes to easily access lands held by individuals by simplifying expropriation for public use. A constitutional reform which seems not to rejoice the civic society much.
“We believe it is unfair. Rich people can defend their rights at the court; they can afford a lawyer. But we the poor we cannot. A poor man cannot even know the value of his land. This means that whatever the amount he gets for it, it is very likely that it will correspond to the property’s actual value. This also means that the farmers will receive meager compensation for their lands. A legal proceeding takes a year, that represents three agricultural campaigns. A poor who depends entirely on agriculture will be having a lot of problems even if he goes to court,” said Jimmy Ochon, lawyer and member of the Uganda Land Alliance, in an interview with Radio France Internationale (RFI).
These remarks seem not to soften the government however. “After payment and acquisition of land by the government, any land owner who does not agree with the amount paid – fixed by the government’s Chief Appraiser – is free to initiate a legal proceeding while government moves on with its works. You have no choice,” recalled the minister of Land, Housing and Urbanism, Betty Amongi, during a press meeting last July 19th.