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“Ugandans are fond of Complicating Simple Things” – President Museveni

Saturday, 21st October 2017
President Yoweri Museveni has said that poor leadership and poor media have led to the complication of the proposed Land Amendment Bill.

The President who was accompanied by the Minister of Lands State Betty Amongi, State Minister for Energy D’Ujanga Simon, State Minister for northern Uganda Grace Kwiyuucwiny made the made the remarks yesterday evening at Pacis FM Radio Station in Arua Municipality where he held his last live phone-in radio talk show to sensitize the public about the proposed Land Amendment Law.

“This was a simple bill but somehow because of the poor leadership and the media that amplifies the lies put out by these leaders, they have told the public that government intends to steal people’s land,” he said.

President Museveni said that bad leaders tell lies, do not care about their country and do not want development. He explained that government proposed to change the law to expedite development projects such as roads, electricity and railway among others.

Mr. Museveni informed the people of the area in particular and Uganda as a whole that before colonialism, kings and chiefs controlled land in Uganda.

“Individuals did not own land. During the time of colonialism, land was divided into two categories: Mailo land in parts of Buganda, Tooro, Bunyoro and the crown land,” he said.

He noted that British colonialists gave 8 sq. miles of Mailo land to 1000 chiefs in Buganda and collaborators with the British while the crown land was 9,000 sq. miles and belonged to the Queen of England. When Uganda got independence, he added, Mailo land stayed and what was crown land became public land meaning that the Republic of Uganda controlled it.

The President said that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) cannot steal land from the public as it was the first government in the history of Uganda, from the time of kings, to give land to citizens because before colonialism land belonged to the kings and during colonialism it belonged to the Queen of England.

“It was under the Constituent Assembly that NRM created the new land system. For the first time, land did not belong to kings, chiefs but to the people living there and these people own land without having to go through government directly. This arrangement is not found in many countries. If you go to our neighboring countries like Rwanda and Tanzania, land belongs to government like we did in 1967,” he said.
President Museveni observed that when making the constitution, the people used logic and knew what they were doing. He explained that when the makers of the constitution saw, for example, that for a cattle keeper to sell his milk to Kampala, he would need roads, they provided within the law for government to take a portion of someone’s land but also compensate the person fairly and promptly for that land for the government to be able build a road.

“With the proposed amendment, we are saying that if you are not satisfied with the compensation, there will be tribunals to settle disputes but in the meantime take the money given to you and if the tribunal directs that we add to you more money, government will do so but without you stalling government work,” he said.

The President reiterated that there is no way government can cheat people when it takes a portion of their land for public projects. “Government pays more money if it takes your land for development compared to when you sell it privately,” he said.

State for Housing, Hon. Chris Baryomunsi, explained that according to the constitution, before government acquires someone’s land, the Office of Government Chief Valuer, must first value the land in question and compensate the owner fairly and adequately before it takes over the land.

“When the valuers come to your land they start by giving you the market price of the land and if there is a building it is also valued separately,” said the Minister.

The Minister further explained that other allowances include disturbance allowance, which, under the Land Act, government provided 30% of the value of the land if the land is acquired 6 months after the owner had got it and 15% if it had been got after 3 months.

‘If the building in your land is for business, we also compute the profit you would lose and add to you the profit you would make in 3 years on top of the value of the land, property compensation and disturbance allowance,” said Mr. Baryomunsi.

The Minister further elaborated that the land board usually has rates for crops and if the landowner had crops in the land to be acquired by government, they are compensated according to the crop rates. If they are seasonal crops, the landowner is allowed to harvest the crops and is still compensated by government.

Addressing himself further country, President Museveni said that majority of Ugandans have been cooperating with government and are happy to receive the compensation money.

“After receiving this money that they are not used to, you hear that they have gone and married more women,” he said.
He explained that the two categories of people who are opposed to the proposed land amendment are the greedy people who want to rob the government during compensation process and the arrogant ones who refuse compensation.

He cited as an example, someone has land along the Kamwenge-Fort Portal road who refused Shs.89 million and demanded for Shs.1.2 billion for a quarter of an acre piece of land adding that  because government would not agree to pay the 1.2 billion the road had to be diverted to pass elsewhere.

The President also mentioned  another landowner in Ntungamo district who stalled an East Africa Community (EAC) project of extending electricity to Rwanda from Ethiopia through Kenya for 3 years because he wanted Shs.1.5 billion.

“People in other countries could not understand this and thought we did not want Rwanda to get electricity. They wondered how one person could stop an EAC project,” he said.

President Museveni said that government has just completed constructing some roads in the West Nile Sub-Region and is looking for more funds to construct more roads such as the Atiak-Adjumani road Moyo - Yumbe road but it will not compensate greedy people who want to loot government.

“It is enough struggle to get money for the road but to add on money for greed is to be enemies of our country. We are going to deal with greedy people who think government is for looting,” he said.

The President repeated that during this Presidential term, there would be no joking with government officials and anyone else.

“We need to construct more roads. If the money is not squandered, we can do a lot of work. The less money you squander under these greedy people, the more and the faster we can do government projects,” he said.

Mr. Museveni warned government workers who have access to information on projects and rush to buy land where these projects are to be done. He said it is corruption and abuse of office for government workers to use information to serve their own interests.
 
“When we proposed the amendment, the greedy people launched a war against us. We had touched the tail of the hyena because the hyena knows that government is going to construct a certain road and where it would pass and would go and start buying land along the route of the project and the villagers would think that these people are just buying land and yet they are preparing for compensation,” he said.

The President said that the Land Amendment Bill only proposes to address government projects and, therefore, the public should discard rumors that there are hidden clauses to acquire land for investors.

“Land for investors cannot be acquired compulsorily. Land for investors can only be acquired voluntarily by willing seller and willing buyer or government can help the investor to negotiate or give them its own land like it recently gave the Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala land that belonged to the Ministry of Information,” he said.

On wealth creation, President Museveni urged the people of West Nile to fight poverty and improve their standard of living.

“There is a difference between development and wealth. Development is for all and the work of government whereas wealth is personal. You can have development and still have poverty in your homes,” he said.

He advised the public to adopt the 4-acre enterprise model to fight poverty that the NRM has been teaching since 1995.

“Use one acre for coffee or tea, another for fruits, the third one for food crops and the last one for cattle, fish farming, piggery or poultry,” he said.

President Museveni also urged families to desist from fragmenting their land. He advised them to own the land jointly and share the proceeds. “Africa needs to learn how to use shares. In Africa, they disperse wealth when the head of the family passes on while in Europe they concentrate it,” he said.

He explained that companies like Rockefeller and Ford in America, have managed to survive this long even after the death of their founders because of the shares system.

“You find that Henry Ford died long ago but what he left is bigger because the children and the grandchildren have added onto the company and kept it growing,” he said.

The President said that people should stop dividing wealth but instead divide what comes from the wealth because when they divide the profits accrue from their wealth they are able to maintain the old wealth and also start new branches.

President Museveni who is also the Chairperson of the NRM party called upon the public to take interest in the forthcoming Local Council elections and vote for the NRM Party candidates. ENDS