The NRM Parliamentary Caucus has resolved to set up a committee headed by the Vice President Edward Ssekandi to study and harmonise the different views of several legislators and members of the public over their reservations with the Land Amendment Bill 2017.
Other committee members include; the Minister of Lands, Betty Amongi, Minister for Constitutional Affairs, the Attorney General and other Members of Parliament who are not ministers but lawyers, Gaster Muyoga, Denis Obua, Bitangalo, Robinah Rwakojo, Bikyetero and Jackson Kafuuzi Karugaba.
The contentious bill that has faced resistance from both NRM lawmakers and the opposition seeks to amend Article 26 of the Constitution providing for compulsory acquisition of land with an amendment to allow government use the land without prior compensation.
The government chief whip, Ruth Nankabirwa told reporters at Parliament that the caucus meeting with the president at State House on Thursday was to recap on the progress of the bill which is currently before the Parliamentary Committee on legal affairs.
“There is nothing new we are bringing in as far as compulsory acquisition of land, we have also found out that all the countries in Africa and the region have a provision in their Constitution of compulsory acquisition of land,” Nankabirwa said.
Nankabirwa said that government realized that a lot of delays have been made in pursuing government projects which have culminated into government losing a lot of money.
“The principle of not delaying government projects was reaffirmed during the caucus meeting, in total we had 278 MPs who turned up, we all in unanimity supported maintaining the principle of not delaying government when ever land is to be acquired for a project.”
The other principle that was agreed upon was to the effect that government shall deposit money with the aggrieved person as established by the government chief valuer as the case is heard by Courts of Law or a tribunal in case it is to be set up.
Ensuring that the victims are compensated promptly before acquiring the said land and setting up of the timeline in which such cases must be disposed off are the other principles that the caucus seeks to be resolved by the set committee.
The committee is expected to report back to the caucus within two weeks time.