UGANDA: ACHOLI HEADS TO COURT OVER LAND GRABBING AND TERRORIZATION OF ITS PEOPLE BY GOVERNMENT SECURITY OFFICIALS

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Dr. Daniel Komakech, chairperson of Acholi Negotiation Team on Apaa land crisis.

“Aware of the on-going terrorization of our people in various area of Acholi land; cognizant of the vulnerability of our people in post war dispensation; incumbent upon the fact that there are grey areas in the legal framework with respect to land ownership and tenure in this country; and, concerned of the existential threat to our people in the event of being disenfranchised of our land; we hereby    resolved to urgently seek Constitutional Court interpretation on the existence of all alleged public land in Acholi sub-region”

GULU-UGANDA: Acholi leadership, under their cultural head, Rwot David Onen-Acana II, has resolved to ‘urgently seek Constitutional Court interpretation on the existence of all alleged Public Land in the sub-region’.

Acholi sub-region in northern Uganda, which comprise of eight districts of Amuru, Gulu, Nwoya, Kitgum, Omoro, Pader, Kitgum and Lamwo, is part of the larger Lwo ethnic groups who migrated to the region from Bar-el-Gazal in Sudan.

The resolution to go to Constitutional Court is part of five-point resolutions reached at on Thursday, April 4, 2019 during a hot meeting at Ker Kwaro Acholi headquarters in Gulu city. The meeting was called by Ker Kwaro Acholi and an organization called Wang-OO (literally meaning bonfire meeting according to the culture of Acholi) to discuss emerging land matters in Apaa in Amuru and Arana in Nwoya districts respectively.

“Aware of the on-going terrorization of our people in various area of Acholi land; cognizant of the vulnerability of our people in post war dispensation; incumbent upon the fact that there are grey areas in the legal framework with respect to land ownership and tenure in this country; and, concerned of the existential threat to our people in the event of being disenfranchised of our land; we hereby    resolved to urgently seek Constitutional Court interpretation on the existence of all alleged public land in Acholi sub-region” reads the first resolution released to the media by Acholi Prime Minister, Mr. Ambrose Olaa.

The second course of action resolved by the meeting held on Thursday, April 4, 2019 is to ‘establish and constitute a Central Committee that will handle all matters related to land in Acholi including vetting all potential investors’.

The third resolution calls ‘upon all relevant local and international authorities to  restrain all government agents and officials, real or perceived; from use of force, intimidation and/or eviction of the local community from their own place of ordinary residence’.

The forth resolution rejects ‘the proposed Cabinet Resolution to, among others, offer purported resettlement package of UGX 10 million (about US$ 2700), cement and iron sheets for the mockery that it is and with the contempt that it deserves’.

The fifth and last resolution intends to ‘expeditiously explore the possibility of registering all land in Acholi sub-region under a ‘Trust’, to be vested in Ker Kwaro Acholi’.

According to Mr. John Livingstone Okell okello, the chairman of Wang-OO, an Indian national approached him in 2018 requesting for assistance to get land title for 200 hectares of public land he bought from Nwoya districts. He wondered how Nwoya district gave out the land yet both the 1995 Constitution and Land Act (1998) outlawed ‘public land’.

According to Mr. David Mwaka, a farmer in Arana, there are some land brokers in Acholi who use ignorance of land owners to grab peasant’s’ land by force on behalf of foreign investors at a commission.

“There is a lot of intimidation of peasants of Arana who do not want to give their land to the so called investors. They want to grab people’s land and then look for investors. We need some laws to protect the people from these investors”, says David Mwaka.

According to Ms. Christine Oryema Lalobo, the next world war will be on land matters. She urged the people of Acholi, who still have large swaths of virgin land to plan to plant forests in this land to protect it from grabbers and mitigate climate change through reforestation.

The chairperson of Acholi Negotiation team on Apaa land crisis, Dr. Daniel Komakech, says team has rejected the UGX. 10 million (About US$ 2700) offer to compensate each household in Apaa top enable them leave the area and described it as a ‘mockery’. He says his team now seeks legal and political redress.

 

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