The newly elected chairperson of Lango Parliamentary Group [LPG], Betty Amongi Akena has cough off fears that she could be compromised by the government she’s serving in relation to key underpinnings regarding Lango sub-region.
Lango Parliamentary Group is a loose coalition that brings together Lango MPs across the political divide and Betty Amongi took over from Felix Okot Ogong of Dokolo South last week.
She polled 10 votes, beating Denis Hamson Obua of Ajuri County, who fetched 6 votes, and Jonathan Odur of Erute South (UPC) with only 03 votes.
Those opposed to Amongi’s new leadership, including the Dokolo district Woman MP, Cecilia Atim Ogwal said it was a disservice to elect Amongi, a cabinet minister to lead LPG whose core mandate is to pile maximum pressure on the sitting government.
Wondering how Betty Amongi would exert pressure on her boss (president Museveni) to deliver on Lango agenda, Atim Ogwal went ahead to insinuate that Lango’s position on the controversial amendment on land laws would be compromised by Amongi.
However while interfacing with the press on Sunday as Lango Parliamentary Group chairperson, Amongi told the media at her home in senior quarters that “there was nothing wrong with her leading the LPG”.
“I am not the first cabinet minister to lead a parliamentary group, I know that Kukedea Parliamentary Group is actually led by a minister,” Amongi told media.
The Lands, Housing and Urban Development minister said “as a cabinet minister, i’m bound by the law of collective responsibility on government positions”.
But, Amongi – who also doubles as the Oyam South MP – on UPC ticket says there is also a provision for a minister to declare his or her conflicting loyalty on a given subject and it is respected.
“I want to make it clear that I will continue to represent the interest of the people of Lango, I also want to assure our people that I will also continue to consult you and defend your positions and interests in cabinet,” Oyam South MP pledged.
Beaming with smiles, Amongi disclosed that the issue of constitutional amendment on article 26 regarding land should not worry the citizens because government withdrew the bill after a wider consultation – country wide.
She says the bill was taken to the parliamentary legal affairs committee which came with key recommendations, adding that “the bill will now come back to the floor of Parliament but seeking to amend the Land acquisition act not Article 26.”
Initially, government was pushing for compulsory acquisition of land in a situation where someone rejects a sum of money awarded to him or her as compensation for his land on which government intends to use for development.
According to minister Amongi, in the new proposal, Parliament has eliminated the issue of compulsory acquisition but where one is not satisfied with the compensation sum, a tribunal will be set and is required to expeditiously handle the dispute within 30 days, and that consequently the High Court will be the “last Court of Appeal”.
Amongi speaks further on Lango Development Agendas.
Asked to expound on the development divestitures that her new leadership will usher in, Amongi said they are already in talks with President Museveni to create two industrial parks in Lango, one in Oyam and another in Lira districts.
According to the minister, Lira district has agreed to give out land worth 400 acres to establish the proposed industrial park.
Minister also says setting up an industrial park in a fast growing satellite city like Kamdini, will enhance the economic development of Lango, creat jobs and also urged potential local investors to consider setting up industries when the parks are established.
Amongo says work on the Rwenkunye, Apac, Lira-Kitgum road has seen government undertaking compensation assessments up to a tune of 60kms, and affirmed that “government is committed to tarmacking the roads”.
She said government has also secured a grant from the Chinese government which will be committed towards the construction of Akii-Bua memorial Olympic stadium, among other projects.