Disgruntled persons affected by road projects implemented by the Uganda National Roads Authority – UNRA under the Ministry of Works and Transport have up in arms demanding expedited adequate compensation for their land.
At least 700 residents in Mpigi district have petitioned Parliament claiming UNRA has not adequately compensated them for the Kampala – Mityana road constructed between 2008 and 2012. Yet, the Authority has commenced work on the proposed Katende – Bujuuko road, still before compensation.
Denasio Sserunjogi, a disgruntled resident along Katende-Bujuuko road whose land title was taken by UNRA and still waiting on compensation, says while it is good to have development in the area, the Ministry of Works and Transport should respect their rights.
Similarly, three at least 300 residents in Luwero District have expressed displeasure with how UNRA is handling their compensation despite the commencement of the Luweero – Kiwoko-Butalangu road project.
Through their area Member of Parliament, Allan Mayanja, the disgruntled residents have threatened to sue the Government for violating their rights to property in contravention of Article 26 Clause (1) and (2) of the Constitution advocates for the protection of citizens.
Several other residents in Bujuuko in Mpigi District, Northern Bypass are equally victims of delayed or inadequate compensation. Lawyer Asuman Basalirwa, also the Buguri Municipality MP, blames UNRA and the Ministry of Works for defying court directives on matters of compensation.
In response, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala regretted the delays but said the Government will compensate all the claimants and also will return all land titles to the affected persons where road projects are being implemented.
He cited disagreement among families as another challenge affecting the smooth compensation of land owners affected by road projects, which he says forces the government to deposit the money in court until such family disagreements are resolved.
While on an oversight tour of districts in the Central Buganda region that includes Wakiso, Mpigi, Mukono, Butambala, Gomba, and Mityana among others, several residents petitioned the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga to amplify their concerns on the compensation.
Addressing project-affected persons of the Kampala – Mityana road and the proposed Katende – Bujuuko road, Mpuuga said that attempts by UNRA to begin on any new road projects without due compensation to the land owners along the project area should be rejected.
The LOP implored UNRA to adequately compensate landowners before implementing any road construction projects, adding that the law requires that property owners get adequate compensation prior to the government takeover.
Several road construction projects in Uganda experience delays which are partly due to challenges in land acquisition.