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National Dialogue on Compulsory Land Acquisition in Uganda


Thursday 21st March 2019


8.00am - 5.00pm


Skyz Hotel - Naguru


The Steering Committee
The Government of Uganda
LANDnet Uganda

Supported by:
Despite putting in place Guidelines for Compensation Assessment under Land Acquisition in 2017, the current proposals by government to reform laws relating to acquisition of land by government, including the amendment to the Land Acquisition Act (Cap 226) to bring it into conformity with Article 26 of the Constitution of Uganda, has raised a lot of questions nationally, with no national consensus reached on the subject.
According to Government, this proposed amendments are expected to facilitate expeditious compulsory acquisition of land by Government or Local Government to avoid delaying Government or Local Government infrastructure and investment projects, while allowing for persons dissatisfied with the compensation amount awarded to resolve the dispute in court in the time to be determined by the laws put in place. This proposal presents a mechanism for Government to access land for development purposes without depriving the property owners the right to prompt, fair and adequate compensation, prior to taking possession or acquisition of the property.
It has been argued by the public that power disparity between government and individuals puts the affected person at a grave disadvantage if one has to negotiate after losing their land or property. To this effect, the government proposal to deposit an amount of money with the court as the aggrieved person mounts a legal battle is a fallacy. Given the time courts take to dispose of land matters in Uganda, the proposed approach by government does not solve citizens’ compensation needs.
Some sections of society particularly the legal fraternity widely agree that amending the Land Acquisition Act and providing for mandatory expeditious disposal of matters concerning land acquisitions and compensations by the courts would go a long way in solving the current impasse regarding progress with infrastructure projects. This course of events will not only enable negotiation and compensation prior to the taking of property, but also allow government projects to remain on schedule. Anything less than this is a recipe for calamity in this already polarized society.
In view of the above, there has been no points of convergence between the state and the public on the subject. Because of the public outcry, the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2017 was withdrawn by Cabinet. Although a temporary measure, the challenges faced by Government in time bound infrastructural projects have not been solved given that there is no statutory legislation operationalizing Article 26 of the Constitution. This requires expedience if infrastructure projects are to move forward with limited court action.
The mixed messages in the public domain regarding the proposed amendments must be resolved through a transparent and honest discussion. Underlying the polarized situation on compulsory land acquisition is mutual suspicion between citizens and the state. The lack of trust within state departments, staff, civil society and Government, the academia and the state, the citizenry and the local governance structures underpins the low uptake of reforms. Where trust is broken and no efforts to repair the relations ensues in a country, there can be no national development. There is need to focus on rebuilding of trust between citizens and the State and gaining ground in the citizens confidence in the state as the protector of their interests in land.
As such it is proposed to hold a National Dialogue on Compulsory Land Acquisition and the requisite governing legislative frameworks. The National Dialogue will benefit Uganda in many ways, including helping citizens make an informed choice on the way forward; encouraging both the government, the academia and civil society focus on public policy issues rather than personality, or loyalties; reducing the potential for violence by promoting civil discourse; and help the contending sides get their message out in places where one opinion has dominated the media environment. This will also provide Ugandans with the rare opportunity to make side by side comparisons and as such provide the citizenry with an objective viewpoint on compensation in compulsory acquisition. This debate will also help defuse political tension on issues of land in the country. It is important as the Government will have an opportunity to make public commitments regarding the protection of sanctity of property which is one of the most worrisome issues currently in Uganda.

Overall Goal

To help Uganda citizens make more informed decisions on public policy relating to acquisition of land by government.

Specific Objectives

  1. To undertake preparatory work towards the national debate on acquisition of land by government
  2. Hold the National Dialogue on amendments to the laws governing the acquisition of land by government.

Expected Results

  1. A well organized, issues based and inclusive national debate on the amendments to the laws governing the expropriation of land by government
  2. Enhanced public policy debate on acquisition laws and principles leading to national consensus on the requisite amendments to the land acquisition laws.
The Steering Committee Members
Julia Kronberg

Head of Development Cooperation, German Embassy Kampala

Hans-Hinrich Schnelle

Deputy Head of Cooperation, German Embassy Kampala

Hon. Stephen Mukitale

Member of Parliament of Uganda

Judith Oroma

State House

Naome Kabanda

Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development

Dr. Gilbert Kermundu

Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development

Dennis Obbo

Ministry of Lands,Housing and Urban Development

Sheila Ampairwe

Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs

John Paul Edoku

Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs

Joyce Nalunga

Uganda Law Society

Charles Musoke

Uganda Local Government Association

Dr.Grace-Edward Galabuzi

Makerere Institute of Social Research

Dr. Moses Musinguzi

School of Built Environment, Makerere University

Chris Charles Oyua

MACO Consulting & LANDnet Board

Abbey Mushega

ABM Consults & LANDnet Board

Faridah Nakayinza

Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development

Mary Twesigome

Ministry of Works and Transport

Moses Oteng

CNOOC Uganda

Ritah Mwase

CEDAT-Makerere University

Lilian Achola


Jonathan Ochom


Esther Obaikol


The Ugandan:
The Report Company:
Nile Post: