Legislators on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee have recommended that Parliament rejects the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017 which seeks to amend Article 26 to provide for compulsory acquisition of land prior to compensation.
The Bill was pushed extensively by President Yoweri Museveni last year, with the argument that this would cut government costs of doing infrastructure projects
The Committee chaired by the West Budama South MP, Jacob Oboth Oboth however argued that the Bill does not introduce anything new warranting an amendment of the Constitution.
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2017 was tabled before Parliament on 11th July 2017 by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, and was later referred to the committee for further scrutiny.
The Bill sought to empower Government or local governments to take possession of a declared property upon depositing the compensation awarded for the property with court, pending determination by court of the disputed compensation awarded.
The Constitutional Amendment Bill was also aimed at empowering Parliament to prescribe by law, the time within which disputes arising out of compensation shall be resolved.
However, the Committee through their report squashed the proposal bill noting that the needed amendments can be addressed by amending the Land Act rather than amending the constitution.
“The Bill does not introduce anything new warranting an amendment to the Constitution. In case there is need to prescribe the matters contained in the Bill, these can be inserted in the Land Acquisitions Act since they are more suited there in light of the above. The Committee recommends that the bill be rejected since and is not read the second time,” the report read in part.