Sam Mucunguzi, the coordinator of local NGO Citizens’ Concern Africa has petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking to review the powers of the head of the Uganda Land Commission, especially when it comes to cancellation of titles in gazzetted areas like wetlands and forest reserves.
Through his lawyers of Joe R. Karigyenda and Company Advocates, the petitioner filed his case, listing the Attorney General as the respondent in the matter.
Mucunguzi cites Article 26(1) of the constitution which guarantees people a right to ownership, and prohibits any deprivation except in cases of compulsory acquisition of property for public interest, which has to follow proper legal procedures including compensation after a fair hearing.
However, with the amendment of Cap 227 of the Land Amendment Act (2004), the petitioner notes that the Commissioner can now at any time recall a land title which was issued and cancel it using his discretion.
Mucunguzi wants among others a court declaration that before any cancellation of a title by the commissioner is implemented, a notice must be given with a proper explanation, which should be heard by an independent tribunal.
Mucunguzi says although the Commissioner cancels titles, there are no serious steps taken towards all government officials who participate in issuing the land titles in the gazetted land.
Although Mucunguzi works with an organization that deals in the protection and conservation of the environment, he says, court should order government to put in place a smarter procedure through which the environment will be preserved at the same time people’s rights observed.
“We as concerned citizens we are not opposed to the respondent’s mandate of preserving resources, which role she executes genuinely in public interest, the respondent ought to do the same under watch of an independent tribunal to avoid using the gap to abuse people’s rights of others, the constitutional demands”
This matter has not yet been fixed by the Registrar of this court for hearing.