Assessing Land Owner's Perceptions on Compulsory Land Acquisition Amendment Bill of 2017
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Compulsory land acquisition is where the government uses its powers of the state to acquire private property or any interest in the property without the willing of the owner (Wiebe et al., 2008). This power possessed by government is mostly necessary for social developments and economic developments and the guarding of the natural surroundings. Land must be given out for investments such as roads, railways, and other infrastructural developments. In Uganda, the right of the government to compulsorily take land is stated in the Land Acquisition Act, 1965 and the 1995 Constitution Article 26. Article 26(2) of the Constitution states that no person can be compulsorily moved out of property without immediate payment of fair and enough compensation before the taking of possession or acquisition of the property. Due to the need by the government to improve on the infrastructure in the country, it introduced a proposal to amend Article 26 of the 1995 Constitution to facilitate faster land acquisition for Public infrastructure(“Policy Brief Constitutional Amendment Bill to the Article 26 of the Uganda Constitution: insights and challenges from field practice of land conflicts. September, 2017,” 2017) However, no research has ever been done to assess land owners’ perception on this proposed amendment bill. Therefore, this research thought to assess land owners’ perception on compulsory land acquisition amendment bill of 2017. This research was conducted in Mparo Division along Kigumba-Masindi-Hoima-Kyenjojo road project, a survey was conducted in which questionnaires were administered on residents whose lands were acquired compulsorily. Focus group discussions (FGD), group interviews, individual interviews and commentaries were also conducted to acquire more information which was not captured by questionnaires. The data collected was analyzed and presented using simple statistical methods. The results showed that more than three quarters of the people (82.50%) had heard about the compulsory acquisition legislation. This means that to a bigger extent, people are aware of the compulsory land acquisition legislation. However, when the researcher inquired whether there is need to make the land owners aware of the land compulsory acquisition legislation, 100.00% responded that there is need. Therefore, people should be made more to know about the compulsory land Acquisition legislation especially by use of Area meetings as 81.40% of the people requested to be made aware through area meetings. The results also showed that more than three quarters (79.40%) of the people said that the current compulsory land acquisition legislation is good and 19.60% indicated that it is bad This means that the current compulsory Land acquisition act is generally good. The results also showed that a very big percentage of 92.80% of the people replied that the amendment bill is bad. This means that the amendment bill is generally bad. Only 6.20% of the people said that the amendment bill is good. The study also showed that 94.80% of the people said that there is need to make the process of compulsory land acquisition better. This means that there is need to make the current compulsory land acquisition better. Different ways of making the current compulsory process better were suggested. The study also revealed that 92.80% of the land owners indicated that amendment bill is bad. This means that generally the amendment bill is bad. The study also revealed that 78.40% people requested to stay with the current law. However, if amendments are to be made, different ways were suggested on how to make amendments. This study focused on a portion of only one government road project which is the Kigumba-Masindi-Hoima-Kyenjojo in Mparo Division. A similar study needs to be conducted on a different project based in a different area in order to find out whether the findings of this study are replicable to other areas.