UGANDA, Lamwo | Real Muloodi News | A land dispute has arisen in the Palabek-ogili, Palabek-kal, and Palabek-gem sub-counties of Lamwo District, where land was given to South Sudanese refugees by Lamwo landlords.
In 2017, a 50-square-mile piece of land was offered by landowners in the Palabek-kal and Palabek-ogili sub-counties to accommodate up to 40,000 refugees escaping conflict in South Sudan.
However, several landlords, including Mr Remijo Otto from Lugwar Central Village, Palabek-ogili Sub-county, are unhappy with the alleged intrusion of refugees into their estates.
The Lamwo landlords feel frustrated with the delays by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in providing their agreed allowances.
Mr Francis Oneka, also from Lugwar Central Village, Palabek-ogili Sub-county, said the OPM failed to compensate them for the seven graves and three houses that were demolished while creating roads within the resettlement land.
Last year, the host communities in Palabek-ogili and Palabek-kal held a protest against OPM’s slow response to address their grievances, which include compensation for graves, destroyed food stocks, and houses, as well as scholarships for their children.
The OPM is committed to providing the host communities with access to clean and safe water, education, livelihood support projects, health facilities, employment opportunities, and environmental preservation and rehabilitation when securing the land from the host communities.
However, the failure of the OPM to fulfil these obligations has left many landlords frustrated, including the chairperson of Palabek-ogili, Mr Christopher Omal, who has communicated the growing conflict over land to the OPM.
The Lamwo Chairman, Mr Sisto Oyet, blames the residents for the confusion, stating that the aggrieved landowners are members of the host community who did not want to register for compensation three years ago.
He also said tensions have risen recently due to the firing of children and relatives of the landlords from jobs offered by humanitarian organisations supporting the refugees.
On the other hand, a group of households under the Ayuu Clan has accused the district leadership and the Palabek chiefdom of conspiring with the OPM to give away their land illegally to refugees without their consent.
In an August 2022 protest letter addressed to the UNHCR and OPM, the aggrieved members of the clan demanded that the refugees already settled in Padolo Village be relocated immediately.
In conclusion, the Lamwo landlords are facing challenges regarding compensation and tensions with the refugees they are hosting. The OPM has made commitments to the host communities, but these have yet to be fulfilled, leading to growing conflict over land.
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