On Thursday, a court in Mpigi ordered the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to pay sh4.6m to a sacred tree complainant to appease the gods and begin construction on the road.
A court in Mpigi on Thursday ordered the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to pay a sacred tree complainant a sum of sh4.6m to help in appeasing the gods to allow commencement of road construction activities.
Similarly to what is happening with the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, Works and Transport Minister, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, recently said the Busega-Mpigi Expressway will be tolled with motorists paying money based on the size of their vehicles.
The Busega-Mpigi Expressway road construction works started off in May 2020 and are expected to be completed in May this year to mark the two-year duration however, works still stand at only 15 per cent.
UNRA says for days now, work has been at standstill because of the purported sacred tree whose owners have asked for Shs500m to appease their clan spirits.
“The Lugave clan has stopped UNRA from cutting down the tree without compensation of sh500m as compensation for allowing the sh300 billion Busega-Mpigi expressway to pass through their piece of land that has the tree,” Gen Katumba Wamala said Thursday.
“One of the clan members, Hussein Katamba also ran to court challenging UNRA’s move to draw plans of constructing a road to go through his piece of land which also has the spiritual tree named Nabukalu,” he added.
However, following a court ruling on the same, the Mpigi High Court judge, Anthony Oyuko Ojok ruled that the justification was not evidence-based to show that the area housing the tree has been a cultural site for prayers since the 1800s.
“The evidence(provided) in no way proved that the said land was a cultural site belonging to the Lugave clan and had been in existence since the 1800s,” the judge ruled.
In addition, he revealed that the plaintiff did not come along with any officials from the said Buganda kingdom to confirm the existence of the cultural site from the Lugave clan, nor did he bring any of the people who are said to always be going to the site for healing.
“The plaintiff didn’t bring any official from Buganda kingdom to confirm the existence of the cultural site from the Lugave clan, nor did he bring any of the people who are said to always be going to the site for healing. It was only at locus that court found some individuals who were said to be interested in testifying yet the same were never witnesses during the hearing of the case.”
“This land is individually owned by the plaintiff for his traditional purposes as a Lugave clan member. The plaintiff also failed to prove that the tree was indeed a recognizable cultural site,” the judge added.
The Justice further directed that since the same court cannot also hear from spirits, it is only based on viable evidence adduced before it.
As a result, Justice Oyuko ruled that the claim of shs500 million is non-justifiable but rather a gluttonous of the plaintiff to want to reap from what he didn’t sow.
“The defendant is hereby allowed to pay the plaintiff the compensatory amount of shs4.6million due to him over the said land and if he refuses to take the said money, let it be deposited in court. The defendant can proceed with road construction over the land.”