Local National

UNRA destroys ‘spiritual tree’ after Court turned down Shs500m compensation to owners

By Rwenzori Daily

The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) on Friday cut down the spiritual tree along Kampala-Mpigi Expressway.

The tree known as Nabukalu belongs to Lugave Clan of Buganda Kingdom and it had been preserved for years over sacred reasons.

UNRA’s move follows the decision by the Mpigi High Court to dismiss a case filed by members of the Lugave Clan who sought to be paid Shs500 million for the sacred tree before it is destroyed to allow construction of Kampala-Busega-Mpigi Expressway.

Lugave clan members had disagreed with cutting down the tree claiming it is sacred. They demanded for Shs500m as compensation for allowing the Shs300 billion Busega-Mpigi Expressway to pass through their piece of land that houses the tree.

The head of public relations at Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Allan Ssempebwa disclosed that the court ordered that the tree owners be compensated with Shs 4.6 Million as per the determination of the Chief Government Valuer (CGV).

The Shs4.6m is for the entire land where the tree is located, which measures about 0.083 decimals.

On Wednesday, the Minister of Works and Transport Gen Edward Katumba Wamala revealed that part of the construction works of Kampala-Mpigi Expressway had been delayed due to some people who demanded Shs500 million as compensation for cutting down a ‘spiritual tree’ along the expressway so that the works can proceed.

Gen Katumba told Parliament that government through UNRA was trying to negotiate with the clan heads who claim that all their spirits are in that one tree but the talks were yet to yield fruits.

“We don’t take land without compensation an example is a tree along Mpigi-Kampala Expressway where one clan says all their spirits are in that one tree. They are asking for Shs500m and we can’t move. They have been offered Shs150m and they say it can’t appease the spirits,” Katumba told Parliament.

The Minister made the revelation while  presenting the Report on the delay in compensation of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project.

He further informed the house that the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway was supposed to commence in 2023 and this is highly dependent on the land acquisition.

Katumba also noted that any further delay in acquiring land will increase the cost of compensating the Projected affected persons.

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