UGANDA: “A POLITICAL QUESTION MUST BE UNDERSTOOD FROM POLITICS”- ACHOLI TEAM SPEAKS OUT ON APAA LAND GRAB

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The leader of Acholi Team, Dr. Daniel Komakech (L) and Hon Anthony Akol at NUMEC

“Why should the Finance Ministry release 29 million Uganda shillings (about US$7860 dollars) for each Member of Parliament as facilitation to consult on age limit debate yet it fails to pay us claimants? Does someone want us not to recover from the after effects of the bitter wars we went through? Should I mobilize all able bodied claimants to demonstrate their displeasure for the government to respond to our concerns?”

“We made a mistake; to scientify and so, de-politicize the Apaa crisis, when actually, it is a political question. That means, as a political question, it needs a political answer. Politics must be understood from politics. Therefore, from today on, we shall talk politics and not data, not nice essays and not statistics. As much as we provided data and facts, we have realized that Apaa land question is less a technical issue and more, a political issue.”

“Any further violence on the people of Apaa, The Paramount Chief of Acholi, Rwot David Onen-Acana II together with the religious leaders and the leadership of Acholi, will go to camp in Apaa to express solidarity with his suffering people. This may not rule out the involvement of the International Community as well”

GULU-UGANDA:On Thursday December 21, 2017, Uganda’s leading independent Daily Monitor published my letter on its letter page titled; “Pay Acholi for cattle” This particular letter was prompted by the fact that the government of General Yoweri Museveni has accumulated a lot of debts since it first came to power 32 years ago.

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) report of 2018, the total debt burden Uganda accumulated over the years has reached US$10.5 billion dollars.

In my letter to the editor of the Daily Monitor, I asked three political questions;

 “Why should the Finance Ministry release 29 million Uganda shillings (about US$7860 dollars) for each Member of Parliament as facilitation to consult on age limit debate yet it fails to pay us claimants? Does someone want us not to recover from the after effects of the bitter wars we went through? Should I mobilize all able bodied claimants to demonstrate their displeasure for the government to respond to our concerns?”

This claim by Acholi has been pending since General Yoweri Museveni signed a Peace Agreement with the Uganda Peoples’ Democratic Army (UPDA) rebels on June 3, 1988. The UPDA was an armed group who regrouped from the previous national army, The Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) after Museveni defeated them in 1986.

To make it annoying, the government has been distributing free cattle in the region as re-stocking program. However the beneficiaries are politically selected, leaving out the original people who had livestock/cattle. Most of the beneficiaries are politically aligned to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. The program distributes long horned Ankole zebu cattle instead of short horned cattle which were used for opening up agricultural land.

In July 2018 a group of over 200 people who reside in disputed Apaa villages travelled all the way from Apaa and pitched camp at the field office The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) in Gulu city. They had one clear message to the High Commissioner - seeking UN humanitarian intervention in the Apaa land grab which has so far claimed the life of 19 people, hundreds of grass thatched huts torched. They camped there for over one month and only left after a protracted negotiation and government assurance that there will be no further eviction.

On Thursday, October 26, 2018 the Acholi Team, which was constituted on orders of General Museveni to dialogue with their counterpart, the Madi Team, held a press conference at the Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) during which they observed; “In this merchant of land grab, young men from unknown destinations are organized by some politicians and many times posed as UPDF or UWA brutalize the locals as they extend the land grab frontiers of the politicians”.

“We made a mistake; to scientify and so, de-politicize the Apaa crisis, when actually, it is a political question. That means, as a political question, it needs a political answer. Politics must be understood from politics. Therefore, from today on, we shall talk politics and not data, not nice essays and not statistics. As much as we provided data and facts, we have realized that Apaa land question is less a technical issue and more, a political issue”, says head of the Acholi team, Dr. Daniel Komakech from Gulu University.

“Any further violence on the people of Apaa, the Paramount Chief of Acholi, Rwot David Onen-Acana II together with the religious leaders and the leadership of Acholi, will go to camp in Apaa to express solidarity with his suffering people. This may not rule out the involvement of the International Community as well”, concludes Dr. Komakech.

 

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