The High Court in Kampala has ordered government to put in place land eviction guidelines within a period of seven months from now.
A group of five victims of evictions including James Muhindo, Martin Muhumuza, Alex Latin, Charles Topoth and one Kiberu recently petitioned the court demanding for proper eviction guidelines in regard land that government saying a lot of people are deprived of the right to property through evictions.
On Friday, Justice Musa Ssekaana agreed with the petitioners saying it wrong for failure by government to put in place proper guidelines governing the way land evictions both on public and private land are carried.
“Government is under the duty of not only protecting property but also to ensure lives of people are given a meaning. The state therefore has a responsibility to protect people from being evicted either on private or public land,”Ssekaana ruled.
The judge blamed government for failure to put in place proper eviction guidelines a situation he said has seen many Ugandans deprived of their social, economic and political rights to property and decent living.
According to the High Court judge, many people have been evicted and left wandering as refugees in their own country.
The petitioners had contended that a refusal, delay and failure by government to put in place clear procedural mechanisms that would ensure respect during eviction and resettlement of citizens is a contravention of government’s obligation of respecting, observation and fulfilment of people’s rights as enshrined in the 1995 constitution.
The judge said that despite acknowledgment of improper land evictions, government has not put in place enough provisions that would enforce people’s rights to property and living decent lives.
“Government should come with guidelines in regards land evictions. It should be participatory to citizens and should bear in mind protection of human rights of the people. Government should report back to this court in seven months from this judgment,” the judge ordered.
He also asked government to ensure a proper legislation is put in place to save people from being evicted and deprived of their rights to property and decent living.
The judge however declined to award costs to the petitioners saying it was a public interest case.
A number of people have lost their property during land evictions which have become rampant in the country.