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Daniel Omara: UNRA Should Have Paid The 500M For The Spiritual Tree

One of the bewildering events that caught the attention of Ugandans this week was a purportedly sacred tree located along the Busega-Mpigi proposed Expressway whose owners(of the tree) halted delay in road works along the area after requesting for a compensation of 500 million shillings to appease the spirits residing in the tree.

The spiritual tree called Nabukalu, which belonged to the Lugave clan of the Buganda tribe, housed the clan's spirits for centuries. In compensation, Uganda National Roads Authority offered to give the clan members 150 million shillings which the owners refused, insisting that it was too low an amount.

However, the court ruled that the land owners be compensated only 4.6 million as per the Chief Government Valuer (CGV), much lower than what UNRA had offered.

Commenting on this peculiar incident, Daniel Omara, the Hear Me Out Presenter on RX Radio, sided with the land owners saying they were right to demand for 500 million as compensation for the land on which their tree stood.

Describing himself as Christian and a fairly superstitious person, he said that spirits are no joke especially in instances where such a tree is estimated to have existed for over 100 years.

Omara argued that like any other place of worship, the tree owners needed compensation which would have been done for any other religious structure, adding that if similar compensations had to be done for instance at the Bujagali Hydro power plant, it would be fair to give the spirit messengers the amount requested.

“People have come out to say that Hussein Katamba who claimed to own the tree was milking the situation by asking for 500m but what if he needs a whole new plot of land? Relocation means buying new land and if there are thousands of spirits, each is going to need like an acre. If pastors are allowed to do it, why can't he? Because that may have been his god. Maybe someone worshipped it and he could have built a religion around it. I don’t think he milked it enough, I think he could have done more,” he said.

Court stated that the tree was not gazetted as a cultural site making the compensation of 500 million unjustifiable. To this, Daniel said that after the completion of the highway, it shouldn’t be surprising when mysterious accidents start occurring around the area.

However, he faulted the tree owner(s) for refusing to take the 150 million that was initially offered to Katamba for the 0.083 decimal acre piece of land.

“Now Mr. Hussein, no where in the world are you going to get that much money for that kind of land, you should have taken the money. I don't know the logistics for spirits but you could have asked them to go reside with some of their relatives and paid for their upkeep. Because 150 million could have done you a lot of wonders for you and them,” he argued.

The Presenter went on to add, “Now UNRA has pissed off 2 categories of people, the living and the dead. You pissed off Mr. Katamba Hussein who is now going to collaborate with the spirits to make life difficult for the rest of us.”

He further proposed that religious leaders irrespective of beliefs should be invited to pray for the road due to the possibility that it may become a black zone for accidents for Ugandan motor users in the near future.

Hear Me Out is hosted by Daniel Omara every Saturday from 10am to Midday on RX Radio.

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