Uganda: More Farmers Resist What They Fear Is Land Grab By Museveni Regime

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Uganda's president, Gen. Museveni-- people in Acholi region fear land grabs.

People in the northern part of Uganda are increasing their resistance to what they claim are schemes by the government to steal their land with incident occurring almost daily.

A few weeks ago, elderly women stripped naked in front of government ministers whom they believe had accompanied surveying sent by the government to demarcate and sell off their land to foreign investors, forcing the senior officials to beat a hasty retreat.

Now, the Yoweri Museveni government's plan for re-stocking Aswa ranch hit a roadblock.  The community surrounding the ranch swear to block the government's program to resettle the land on the ground that the government wants to grab Aswa ranch and bring people from the Western part of Uganda  for resettlement.

Communities in Anagura Sub County and Atanga Sub County have moved to block the new program of resettlement of Banykole and Bakiga, who hail from the Western part of Uganda.

The ranch was economically vibrant in 1960s for production of dairy exotic cattle; there were over  30,000 heads of animals including other livestock. However after President Yoweri Museveni seized power in 1986 when Museveni took over the government, the livestock was looted by his then National Resistance Army (NRA).

Alfred Akena, Chairman Pader District Local Council V, says during the Acholi Joint Leadership Land Forum meeting in Gulu on Monday, May 19, it was proposed that the Restocking program be put on hold. “What I know, Uganda government has failed in their obligation to bring the Exotic Cattle," Akena said. "But the government is using UPDF soldiers [who] are transporting Balalo from Western Uganda moving at night with the animals at night.”

The Pader district Chairman further added that the blame is on government; that people will not accept the Balalo people taking over the ranch to keep their animals; they move around with guns while keeping their livestock.

Odonga Otto, Member of Parliament (MP) for Aruu County, one of most vocal Ugandan Legislators, called on Acholi leaders to be prepare for resistance. He said so long as the Acholi community kept begging Museveni to remove the national army, UPDF from the last disputes, he will keep on humiliating the Acholi community.

MP Odonga said Aswa ranch was leased in 1960s by the government of Uganda for 99 years; and that it's the only government ranch in Acholi region. He says however, the government was using the national army to grab land such as Achol-pii Refugee Settlement Camp which has now been enclosed with a fence covering 10 square kilometers of land.

The government is targeting Agago ranch. Agora ranch formerly was East Acholi district," Odongo said, adding that these ranches were only reserved for livestock in transit. 

 

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