Uganda: Arua, Kiryandongo Locals Meet Land Probe Team


Locals from Arua and other neighbouring West Nile districts have overwhelmed the land probe commission, headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, with land complaints.

This was during a baraza meeting organised by the commission to seek views of the public on land-related matters at Arua police grounds on Tuesday.

The residents complained about the manner in which land conflicts are being handled by district land offices and the police. They alleged that the rich are favoured.

Mr Micheal Angunda, a resident of Vurra Sub-county, said: “The land issue is pertinent in every life, that is why you see this population in front of you is aggrieved. In 2017, two clans: Pajuru and Upia disagreed over land and killed themselves because they saw the value for land. Now, the two clans are not in peace.”

The female councillor for Uriama and Odupi sub-counties in Arua District, Ms Emily Abaru, also raised a similar land issue between the two sub-counties.

“This problem started way back in 1997 and still continues up to now. This year in June, the Madi people came inside Uriama Sub-county marking some trees, that all those belong to Rigbo Sub-county and yet they are inside Uriama Sub-county. I would urge that you take up the initiative to sort out these differences so that our people can live amicably,” she said.

Some land cases have turned violent in the areas of Vurra, Ayivuni and Ullepi sub-counties in Madi-Okollo District.

Justice Bamugemereire promised that the land issues would be investigated.

“Some of these complaints, we are hearing for the first time. I believe that if everything is done and we get all the information and we investigate them, we can then assess what we are capable of doing and what we are not capable of doing,” she told the residents.

She added: “Our main goal is to bring out the salient issues in land matters and give recommendations…”

Kiryandongo

Earlier on Monday, the land probe team interfaced with the residents of Kiryandongo District, who petitioned the probe commission to intervene in a land dispute in which they were accusing an agricultural firm known as Agilis of taking over government ranches.

The residents said they were being harassed by security agents and forcibly evicted without compensation.

The affected communities are mainly people from the Nubian community and some locals who claim to have been given the land by government in 1990s.

However, Mr Solomon Sebowa, a lawyer representing Agilis Company, refuted the forceful land eviction allegations.

“We sit and agree with them but later, they change from what was agreed upon,” Mr Sebowa said.

In response, Justice Bamugemereire said her commission had received information indicating that there are people, secretly processing land titles of government land in Kiryandongo without authorisation.

She added that government needs to interest itself in these land eviction allegations.

“How do you give land to one person and he evicts thousands (of people) and later you expect happiness. This is a big worry to government,” Justice Bamugemereire exclaimed.

She said the commission would call Agilis Company alongside the locals to verify facts.

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Publish date : 2019-08-08 17:51:33

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