News

If You Adopt Report on Bulambuli Resettlement, Ugandans Will Continue to Die- Ecweru Warns MPs

The Minister of State for disaster preparedness Musa Ecweru has asked members of parliament not to adopt a report by the Presidential Affairs committee, lest they cast victims of landslides in the Elgon region into gross suffering.

The Minister was on Tuesday presenting a rebuttal statement to the committee report, which recommended for the cancellation of Bulambuli land deal, citing unresolved ownership questions.

“If the MPs go by the recommendation, the people will continue to suffer and government will at the same time lose money,” Ecweru said.

“I therefore urge colleagues to consider the plight of the people of Elgon sub-region, because in two Months’ time, the first season rains will be on and further delays of the resettlement programme will expose the survivors to harm,” he said.

Ecweru also cautioned that, “in case Parliament decides to cancel the entire land acquisition process as recommended by the Committee,there is a likelihood of Government incurring huge financial losses and more deaths as a result of the anticipated landslides.”

The committee chaired by Adjumani Woman MP Jesca Ababiku wants the government to find land elsewhere and not Bulambuli.

“The Committee finds it not prudent to spend Government funds on infrastructure that is sitting on land characterized by ownership challenges,” reads the report in part.

The committee also established that there are still many unresolved complaints to different stakeholders and that government could have lost money in the procurement of three plots of land.

But Ecweru said there was no financial loss caused to Government and the people of Uganda by OPM.

“The land was procured in accordance with PPDA Act 2003 and extensive due diligence and administrative reviews were done involving PPDA, Solicitor General, MLHUD, URSB, CIID, DPP, District and Community leaders,” he said.

Whereas the report faulted the political leaders within the Office of the Prime Minister, calling for their implication, Ecweru said they acted diligently and that technical Officers acted professionally in executing their work to the conclusion of the assignment and there is value for money.

The minister said the resettlement process is already underway targeting 900 households and the first 101 houses will be ready to be handed over to carefully selected beneficiaries beginning mid-February 2019.

Ecweru also said that a competent authority, the Chief Government Valuer was fully engaged in determining the rates paid for each acre, and that that the “OPM did not procure air, neither did it exaggerate the price.”

The minister insisted that since the procurement involved a huge chunk of land to a tune of 2876 acres, it is only inevitable that complaints would arise.

However, he said that all the complaints raised during the OPM procurements of the three plots of land were all amicably resolved.

“The cases of land claimants now before us arose more than eight months after conclusion of the procurement process; any other complaints that will come up in future shall be handled administratively and politically without stopping development activities,” Ecweru said.

Lawmakers on the Presidential Affairs Committee have asked Parliament to compel the government to back off Bulambuli land, citing unresolved ownership questions.

The committee in its 176-page report to Parliament wants the government to find land elsewhere to resettle survivors of landslides in the Elgon region.

“The Committee finds it not prudent to spend Government funds on infrastructure that is sitting on land characterized by ownership challenges,” reads the report in part.

The committee also established that there are still many unresolved complaints to different stakeholders.

The Committee wants the government to rethink its position on Bulambuli land and instead relocate the affected people to areas with a clear public status.

“Government should interest itself on its existing vacant land in the Country and priorities using it for resettlement of IDPs,” reads the report in part.

“Government is in possession of Land in different parts of the country including parts of government lands reserved for refugees in Kiryandongo, Kyangwali, Isingiro, Rwamanja and Kyaka,” the legislators said.

The Committee further indicated that the government should ensure that programs intended by the Office of the Prime Minister for the resettled victims in Kiryandongo be mainstreamed in the Local Government structures of Kiryandongo [district] for ease of implementation and sustainability.

In November this year, Parliament tasked the committee chaired by Adjumani district Woman MP Jesca Ababiku (NRM) to investigate the questions surrounding the conflict on Bulambuli land, acquired by the office of the Prime Minister to resettle victims of landslides in the region.

To Top