Gov’t pushes for win-win campaigns in land compensation

(Last Updated On: 23 February 2024)

Gulu | The government of Uganda through its agency, the National Physical Planning Board (NPPB) is pushing for a win-win strategy in land compensation to achieve a successful physical planning goal.

Jackie Kemigisha Kiiza, a member of NPPB under the Ministry of Local Government told political leaders and technocrats in Gulu City on Wednesday during a sensitization meeting that the land tenure system in Uganda is greatly affecting the implementation of the physical plans of the country and even the districts and cities.

“The land tenure system is doing a disservice to the government. With the current land system, people want to be compensated for every development, even roads which eventually spur development,” Kemigisha said.

Kemigisha further said that the land tenure system which is mainly customary, freehold and the mailo-land system are the ones majorly affecting the physical development progress.

According to her, the system is giving a big blow to the government because once there is a development that needs to be put on someone’s land, they require that they be compensated.

“You find when you want to start a project; there is somebody’s land. He wants compensation, yet the money for compensation may be more than the money meant for the project and this has affected many projects,” Kemigisha added.

However, she revealed that the private mailo land tenure system is the most problematic because everyone has a land title in their name and the government has no say over it.

“The challenge that the government is facing today is that you have road projects but you need to first compensate the land owners. We need to sensitise the benefits of the road networks to our community members so that we have a win-win situation.

“People have become so aggressive that everybody is asking for compensation and that is why sensitization is key; you have to make people understand the value of having a good road in the land; for example, I am putting a road in your land and this will attract development but if you do not make them understand the value of the project then we will not achieve anything,” she added.

Denis Tugume, another member of the Board from the National Planning Authority said that the government is still struggling to address the issues of the land tenure system because of the laws and regulations that bind the tenure system.

Tugume said that it requires a collective effort from both the political and technical wings of government to see that the people’s mindset on asking for too much compensation is changed.

“Sometimes even the compensation money alone doubles the project cost; we need to work together to sensitise our community about the importance of these projects, especially roads,” Tugume said.

Agnes Oyella, the Gulu City Physical Planner told tndNews that one of the major challenges affecting Gulu City is the land tenure system whereby communities are over-demanding compensation.

Oyella said that the problem with Gulu City and the Acholi sub-region is the two land tenure systems of customary and private mailo land systems whereby the city or government does not have any right over someone’s land.

“The law provides that the land belongs to the people, and here you do not have anything to do but only compensate them for their land. This has greatly affected the physical planning of the city,” Oyella said.

According to Oyella, the approved Gulu City development plan’s implementation is moving on well with the major challenge of land tenure that needs to be addressed.

“I concur with the national physical planning board calls for sensitization; we need to work together both the political heads and the technical teams; let us have one voice for physical development,” Oyella said.

Oyella, however, pointed out the mushrooming number of churches that are being established in unplanned areas and not following the city’s physical development guidelines.

“Churches are coming up everywhere, and controlling them has become a big problem for us in the physical planning department,” Oyella stated.

Stephen Olanya, the Chairman Area Land Committee, Bardege-Layibi Division said that the city needs to moot plans to reduce the size of roads being constructed since land in the city area is scarce.

“Compensation has been compromised; let us compensate the beneficiaries and also since land is scarce, please you reduce the size of the roads being constructed in the city,” Olanya said.

“If UNRA compensates, you just feel at home but when the city council compensates, you cry for your land. And this causes conflicts which debar development.”

The National Physical Planning Board is a body established in 2010 by the Physical Planning Act with its highest responsibility for physical planning in Uganda and powers to control, supervise and administer the assets of the Board in such a manner and for such purposes to promote the purpose of which the Board is established among other powers.

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