URN.According to Francis Kizza, the Kyebe Sub-county Councilor and the chairperson for the Sango Bay affected people, the compensation process has not started as it had been planned.
With less than two weeks to the end of the year, the government sate period of December 2021 to compensate about 10,000 people on Sango bay land is now only left with the festive season during which many public officers go on holiday.
Last month, Sam Mayanja, the State Minister for Lands, told the affected residents they would be registered and compensated in December 2021 and then the handover of the land to the investor to start the project by January 1, 2022 would occur.
He added that the government would first consider the bona fide occupants on the land and then look at others for a compassionate token for peaceful resettlement. T
he 247 square miles cover villages of Kanamiti, Matengeeto, Mutukula, Lukulavu, Lukoma, and Kabale in Kakuuto sub-county, and others in Kabira, Kasasa, Kyebe sub-counties and Mutukula town council in Kyotera district. But according to Francis Kizza, the Kyebe Sub-county Councilor and the chairperson for the Sango Bay affected people, the compensation process has not started as it had been planned.
Kizza explains that the affected residents are currently stranded since no one has given them feedback about the compensation plan since the month started. He noted that even the compensation rates have not been discussed nor agreed upon by both parties which leaves them in confusion. He further adds that the oil palm project is set to start around the month of January 2022.
Kizza says that the affected include farmers, pastoralists, fishermen and settlers with documents showing proof of ownership but no one has approached them in the compensation regard.
He adds that the residents have on many occasions demanded for the plot and block number of the said land in vain. He say that the district land board and the government officials are not clear when it comes to the plot and block number yet they claim it was surveyed earlier.
Peter Mweruka, the Kabonera –Sango Bay LCI chairperson, one of the affected residents says they have not been called to discuss compensation of their land which the surveyors included yet it was not part of Sango bay land.
However, Gabriel Bwayo, the Chief Administrative Officer -CAO, attributed the inconvenience to the delayed opening of boundaries of Sango Bay land. He explains that compensation of the affected residents cannot start before the boundaries have been fully defined and opened.
He adds that the process is still ongoing and soon after, the compensation process will start.
While the local leaders of the affected villages argue that there are about 10,000 people, Ignatius Tumwesiga, the Liaison Consultant of Sango Bay Estate, says that the government will consider only 300 households for compensation because they are lawful occupants.
In Uganda, a bona fide occupant is a person who settled and utilised land unchallenged by the registered owner for twelve years or more before the coming into force of the 1995 Constitution. This simply means that person must have settled and used the land before 8th October 1983. Through the Ministry of Agriculture, the government, announced plans to expand the National Oil Palm Project (NOPP) and immediately gave the occupants a one-month ultimatum to vacate the 14,000 hectares of land that to pave way for the project.
But the residents, mostly cattle keepers, have consistently resisted the impending eviction and demanded compensation.