Tuesday, October 30, 2018

UGANDA: Museveni evicts natives off 6000 acres to give foreign "investors"

Nwoya residents, leaders protest planned eviction

Ordered. Some of the Nwoya residents, who have been asked to vacate the land in Agonga Parish, Koch Goma Sub-county, during a meeting on October 29, 2018. PHOTO BY DENIS OPOKA

DAILY MONITOR - Nwoya District residents and leaders are protesting government’s planned relocation of more than 430 households from State land.
The affected residents are settled on 6,000 acres of land in Agonga Parish, Koch Goma Sub-county.

Government says the land under contention was declared a State farm by former president Idi Amin in the early 1970s.
The minister of Lands, Ms Betty Amongin, has now directed for the immediate surveying and boundary redemarcation of the land and given residents three months to vacate.
“The government will not compensate anyone for the land. The affected persons will only be given money to relocate to other areas,” Ms Amongin told Daily Monitor in an interview on Friday.

Ms Cecilia Ojera, 67, one of those affected, vowed not to vacate the land, saying she has occupied it from the time she was born and nobody has come to claim it. “Many of my relatives were buried here and there is no way I can leave this place,” she said.
Ms Ojera questioned why the government was evicting the people it is meant to protect.

Ms Evelyne Ajok, 65, rejected any move by the government to throw her away from what she called their ancestral land.
Mr Charles Acellam, the chairperson of the affected persons, said: “Our people are now living in fear of eviction and are stranded. We are not going anywhere.”

The area Woman Member of Parliament, Ms Lillian Adong and Nwoya County MP Simon Oyet have tasked the government to give evidence of ownership of the contested land.
According to Ms Adong, the land belongs to residents.
“The original inhabitants of the contested land did not vacate their land as the government was only supporting them with farm tools to till the land. This land has never been for the State,” she said
Ms Adong said the plan is being orchestrated by people with bad intentions.

“The government is just plotting to grab the land from the community. They want to give it away to investors,” she claimed.
“What we want is the government to revive the group farms and empower the communities for sustainable development,” she added.
Mr Oyet said they had mobilised the affected people to block surveying of the land until government provides proof of ownership.
“This land is for the locals and majority were born here and there is no way such population can be displaced,” he said
Mr Oyet appealed to President Museveni to halt the pending eviction.

In November 2017, Ms Amongin wrote to the sub-county authorities indicating government’s plan to redemarcate the 6,000 acres of land in Laminato Village. Nwoya, just like many districts in northern Uganda is prone to land conflicts that have led to eviction of thousands. Last year, a senior UPDF officer, Maj Gen Charles Otema Awanyi, was cited in alleged land grabbing and violent eviction of more than 6,000 families in Purongo and Apwoyo sub-counties in Nwoya District. He appeared for questioning before the land probe team.

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