• Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

UGANDA, Apaa Real Muloodi NewsPresident Yoweri Museveni has announced the suspension of the Apaa evictions and revealed the latest government position on the approval of the functions of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the land disputes.

The announcement comes after Museveni met with leaders from the Acholi Sub-region on Thursday 23rd February in Gulu City, following an uproar against the government’s latest decisions to evict locals from the contested land.

A week ago, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja ordered all residents of Apaa to voluntarily vacate the area by May 16 or face forceful eviction.

She said that the government had allocated USh2.5 billion to compensate verified genuine households with USh10 million, 20 iron sheets, and 20 bags of cement to enable them to relocate to other places.

Apaa borders Amuru and Adjumani Districts, which have been under contention since 2012, with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and National Forestry Authority claiming that it is part of the East Madi Wildlife Reserve and Zoka Central Forest Reserve, respectively.

While addressing a rally on Friday 24th February in Kaunda Play Grounds in Gulu City, President Museveni said that Nabbanja’s pronouncement was based on an old cabinet resolution passed in 2019, which had been temporarily suspended.

He said that the resolution had been under review by a committee led by the former Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah before his demise in March last year.

Museveni says that after the death of Oulanyah, he directed the formation of a judicial commission of inquiry.

However, the formation suffered delays for which he did not explain. He notes that he will now swiftly sign the instruments of power to approve the formation of the commission of inquiry, which consists of judges who conduct investigations into the land dispute.

According to the President, recommendations made by the commission will help guide the government in making its decisions over Apaa.

On Thursday, February 23rd, the President held a closed-door meeting with key leaders in the region, among them the Paramount Chief of Acholi David Onen Acana II, and Gulu Archdiocese Archbishop Dr John Baptist Odama on the contentious Apaa land matter in Gulu City. Details of the meeting, however, remain scanty.

Archbishop Odama had said that the decision to evict the locals was undertaken without due consultation with the leaders in the region. He said that the government had also failed to fully exhaust the opportunities of dialogue, which would be key in addressing the land dispute.

At the same rally on Friday, February 24th, the President also promised to decisively handle the issues of the influx of balaalo cattle keepers in the region, following several complaints from locals and political leaders.

The President reiterated his commitment to seeing an end to the incursion of the cattle keepers, whom he describes as indiscipline, adding that he will write an executive order to deal with them.

The government, last year through the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), conducted the forceful eviction of hundreds of Balaalo pastoralists from the region following a directive from the President in November 2021.

President Museveni yesterday ended his two-day tour of the region on a mission to preach wealth creation and prosperity to the people of the Acholi Sub-region.

In his several remarks, President Museveni reiterated the four-acre farming model as an alternative to kicking out poverty and increasing household incomes for locals who own small pieces of land.

In his approach, the President implored households in the region to use an acre of the land for growing cash crops, an acre for fruits, one acre for food crops, and another acre for dairy production.


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