Some voters in Oyam South, Oyam district, are up in arms against Lands Minister Betty Amongi over the proposed amendment of Article 26 of the Constitution to enable government to compulsorily acquire land for public projects. Amongi represents Oyam South in Parliament. But some angry voters in the area call her a total disgrace to the constituency and Lango sub region for advancing a proposal that they say seeks to rob people of the only asset left for their livelihoods.
Some voters in Oyam South, Oyam district, are up in arms against Lands Minister Betty Amongi over the proposed amendment of Article 26 of the Constitution to enable government to compulsorily acquire land for public projects.
Amongi represents Oyam South in Parliament. But some angry voters in the area call her a total disgrace to the constituency and Lango sub region for advancing a proposal that they say seeks to rob people of the only asset left for their livelihoods.
Many who spoke to Uganda Radio Network accused Amongi of going against the interests of her constituents on this matter and thus advancing her own interests and those of the government.
Susan Apili Otim, a former contestant for Oyam Woman Parliamentary seat, says Amongi has become a disgrace to the people of Oyam South who voted her and that she must come back and apologise to them. She says it is wrong for Amongi to support the compulsory land acquisition proposal that could dispossess people of their land.
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Willy Odongo a member of the ruling National Resistance Movement, says Amongi is not living to the expectations of those who voted her into office. He wants the minister to come down and consult her constituents widely before advancing such a plan he considers too sensitive.
On the recent saga over Apaa land in Amuru district in which Amongi was reported to have said her office will forcefully give the said land to Madhvani Group of Companies, Odongo said such utterances are causing tension between the neighbouring tribes of Lango and Acholi.
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Innocent Ogwang, a resident of Loro- Odike, says Amongi risks being sanctioned and given a vote of no confidence should she continue with her move to support the proposed amendments. Ogwang argues that they lost all the basic sources of livelihood during the northern Uganda conflict and that land is the only asset they are left with.
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Issah Otto Amizah, the former Oyam South Member of Parliament, describes Amongi's behaviour as total betrayal of the the people of Oyam South. Otto says the minister's move is provocative and that as voters they will not sit and watch.
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Otto says as voters from Oyam south they are mobilising themselves to petition the Speaker of Parliament on the matter.
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Allan Otim, another voter from Minakulu trading centre asked Amongi to consider the problems the people of Northern Uganda have gone through during and after the two decades of the Lord's Resistance Army insurgency.
Speaking in his native Lango, Otim reminded the minister that it is those in her constituency that voted her to parliament and therefore she must represent their views at all time.
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Nelson Adea Akar, the Oyam district chairperson asks the minister to tone down a bit. Adea says much as he supports the proposed amendments, the manner in which government has packaged its messages to the public so far is worrying.
Adea says as long as there is no ill-intention in amending Article 26, the move must be welcomed by everyone since it will promote development at all levels.
Minister Amongi is yet to comment on these concerns as she did not pick or return our calls.
However, she has always defended the bill claiming that government has lost about 349 billion shillings in the past two financial years due to delayed implementation of infrastructure projects. She explained that the money was lost in paying fines to contractors for idle machinery due to stalled projects because of compensation disagreements.
According to Amongi, the money spent on fines could have been used to finance other infrastructure projects. She explained that the proposed constitutional amendment bill 2017 will help government to mitigate such compensation scenarios that stall government projects and cause financial loss.