29th July 2016
PRESS RELEASE ON GRANTING OF LEASES, CONCESSIONS, PERMITS OR LICENSES OF 30 YEARS EXCLUSIVE USE OF 20 CRATER LAKES IN KABAROLE DISTRICT BY KABAROLE DISTRICT LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL TO FERDSULT LTD
As a result of various media broadcast on the above subject matter in Kabarole District and direct reports made by the victims of FERDSULT ENGINEERING SERVICES LTD and her Agents/Employees’ actions and omissions, Twerwaneho Listeners Club (TLC) together with the victims and another public litigant embarked on quick inquiry and found out the following;
- On the 29th day of May 2015, Kabarole District Local Government entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Ferdsult Engineering Services Ltd for the latter to exclusively use the listed 20 crater lakes in the District for a period of 30 years.
- The obligations of Ferdsult Engineering Services Ltd are not clearly spelt out in the contract
- There is no fee disclosed as consideration in the contract
- Ferdsult Engineering Services Ltd employed armed private security guards among others War Veterans 1980 firm to enforce the exclusive use of the lakes by Ferdsult Engineering Services Ltd and exclude the surrounding communities from using the same.
- Ferdsult Engineering Services Ltd and her agents/employees confiscated properties of local fishermen and farmers, beat, kidnapped and caused detention of people living adjacent to the lakes and are continuing to do the same to-date.
- Ferdsult Engineering Services Ltd has of recent employed the Uganda Police Force at Saka Crater Lake to police the whole lake and its surroundings to make sure there is exclusive use the lake and land within 100meters from the lake by the company.
- There is massive land grabbing at the 20 crater lakes. The grant of exclusive use of the land within 100meters from the lake by government and Kabarole District Local Government Council and the subsequent enforcement by the Uganda Police Force is evident.
- Provisions of the law
The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda of 1995 (as amended)
Objective XIII of the Constitution of Republic of Uganda of 1995 (as amended) requires the state to protect important natural resources, including land, water, wetlands, fauna and flora on behalf of the people of Uganda. Article 189 of the Constitution entrusts the central government with the responsibility for matters specified in the sixth schedule. Item seven of the sixth schedule specifies that resources such as land, water resources and the environment are the responsibility of the central government. However article 189 (2) provides that district councils and councils of lower Local Governments may at their own request be allowed to exercise functions reserved to the central government or such functions may be delegated to them by the government or by parliament by law. Article 237 of the Constitution requires that natural lakes, rivers, wetlands, national parks, game reserves, forest reserves and any land be reserved for ecological and touristic purposes and held by government or Local Governments in trust for the people as determined by parliament or law. As a trustee, government only has power to give concessions, licenses or permits in respect of the natural resources such as water resources.
Article 26(2)(c) of the Constitution on freedom from deprivation of property provides for prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation prior to the State’s compulsory acquisition of any property.
The Water Act, Cap 152
This is the principal law for the water sector and it incorporates legislation for both water resources management and water supply and sanitation. The main objective of the Water Act as provided for in Section 4 are to: promote the rational management and use of the waters of Uganda among others and under Section 5, the Water Act recognizes that all rights to investigate, control, protect and manage water in the country for any use are vested in the Government.
The Land Act, Cap 227 (as amended) and The Land Acquisition Act Cap 226
Section 42 of the Land Act provides for Government or Local Government to acquire land in accordance with Articles 26 and 237(2) of the Constitution
- Action taken
This is a deterrent action after a thorough analysis and consultations on the findings and the legal position. We found out that the omissions and actions of the Attorney General, Kabarole District Local Council and Ferdsult Engineering Services violated the provisions of Articles 26, 39, 20, 237 and 189 of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda; provisions of the water Act and The Land Act. These laws guarantee the communities rights and freedoms to peaceful enjoyment of the natural water and land resources they are deprived of in this situation. To this end, Twerwaneho Listeners Club together with the victims and another public litigant have filed legal action against Kabarole District Local Government, the Attorney General and Ferdsult Engineering Services Ltd in the High Court of Fort Portal on 28th day of July 2016 for the following orders;
- Cancellation of the contract between Kabarole District Local Council and Ferdsult Engineering services Ltd
- Immediate discontinue of Ferdsult Engineering Services activities on the 20 crater lakes in Kabarole District till the main application is determined.
- Immediate withdrawal of Uganda Police Forces men and women and private security guards from Lake Saka in Kicwamba Sub County, Kabarole District and others.
- Declaration that activities of Kabarole District Local Council and Ferdsult Engineering Services are illegal, unlawful and a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined under Chapter Four of the Constitution.
Court fixed the hearing on 19th day of August 2016.
For more information please contact:
The Executive Director TLC
Plot 38 Tooro Road-Boma
P.O.Box 962 Fort Portal