Amuru Land Grab: The Apaa Village evictions is never ending story…

Legislators from the Acholi sub-region were blocked from accessing the Apaa township, bordering Adjumani and Amuru districts. The eight MPs from the region were in Apaa on a fact-finding mission following an arson attack, displacement, and reports of gross abuse of human rights over persistent land wrangles. These were instead met by police officers and army men heavily armed with teargas and guns who blocked their access” (NBS Television, 10.06.2022).

This here story goes back in time. So far back that we are now soon two decades since the state gave the land to the investor. Since then the Apaa village has seen the forceful state, evictions and other sorts of tactics of the state to takeover the land. In the Northern Uganda land has been taken and given to “industrial” purposes like the plantations for the Kakira Factory for instance. Therefore, the ideas of taking land for “development” isn’t new. However, the state doesn’t give anything in return to the evicted and only creates more internally displaced persons. Which is another crisis in the making.

The Apaa village and Apaa community deserves better. They have been victims, which shown by this quotation from a report in 2014.

The case of land in Apaa Village (Amuru District) illustrates the suspicions of local people concerning the acquisition of large tracts of land. In 2005, when people were still living in the camps, land was given to Bruce Martin from South Africa who was investing in game reserves for sports hunting. When resistance from the community intensified, it is claimed that the government changed tactics and asked the neighbouring district of Adjumani to contest ownership and claim that this land actually lies within Adjumani District. The Adjumani District authorities then passed a council resolution giving the land away to the ‘investor’. Some participants in this research argued that the boundaries between the two districts of Adjumani and Acholi are clear, and that some district politicians are manufacturing the boundary conflict. During an interview with the District Chairperson of Adjumani, he showed a map of the area in dispute claiming the area belongs to Adjumani District” (Otim & Mugisha, P: 8, 2014).

What is striking is that this case has been a running case in the 9th and 10th Parliament. Now, it returns to prominence in the 11th Parliament too. That means the Apaa village never been resolved, neither has the rights of the Apaa community really been heard. Secondly, the former MPs and Local Councillors haven’t been able to voice it up. This because it is a stalemate and the land is still up for grabs.

We know in 2018 that Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) did some evictions of people in the area. This was done with the support of the army or the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF). That just shows that the District Land Board and Area Land Board wasn’t able to petition or have a say. Therefore, the directives and the promise of land was already settled without considering the implications locally.

That’s maybe why the MPs are trying to investigate it. They are MPs representing the Acholi sub-region, but still not allowed to access the area. That says something about the what is going on and possibly could be furthering escalations. We can be rest assured that the State House has directed it and is silently behind it all. As they have promised the land for the investor.

It is tragic that this is happing to Apaa village. Wonder, if the President would have been so kind to an “investor” if it happened to his farm in Rwaiktura farm in Kiruhura district. As a Namibian “investor” was given land and for “development” purposes in the greater Mbarara area. Because, that would be the same and he would have to idly move without any compensation. That would have been a similar act of land grab, which is what’s happening here in Apaa village in the Acholi sub-region. Peace.

Reference:

Otim, David & Mugisha, Police Charles – Saferworld: ‘Beyond the reach of the hoe: The struggle for land and minerals in Northern Uganda’ (April 2014)

Amuru Land Grab: The Legacy of Atiak Sugar Factory

Today on the 23rd October 2020 President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni commissioned Atiak Sugar Factory. This is not without consequences. The industrial enterprise has cost two thousands citizens their lands.

It has been years since the 11th December 2014. There been reports that the Madhvani Group have used land for big sugar-cane plantations, which are the producers for the Atiak Factory. This has been the reason for the land grabbing and forced evictions of the Acholi. The Madhvani Group established their Amuru Sugar Works who was getting 40,000 hectares of land.

The state will proclaim the amount of people working there and families, which is supposed to participating in the enterprise. They are only proclaiming the great things. However, not telling the costs in Amuru district or amount of forced evictions. Neither, addressing the bailouts of the investor. Who is behind the Sugar Factory either.

Today, that should not be forgotten. People have died in protests over the years. There been naked protests and MPs arrested over this. Therefore, the Atiak Sugar Factory has created issues. These should not be forgotten in the starting of production at the factory.

The factory is partly owned by the state and Horyal Investment Holdings Company Limited. Atiak Sugar factory located in Gem Farm, Atiak sub-county, Kilak County, in Amuru District. In Okidi North there are residents who said their was kicked out by the building of the factory and the land. The total of people in articles mentioned is about 80 people. As the Atiak Factory and its estate covers about 16,000 hectares of land. There been speculation of about 80 people thrown out of their lands needing redress for losing their land.

Therefore, there are plenty of scandals in the building of this factory. That they didn’t clear the legalities before the Madhvani Group or Horyal Investment Holdings got their land. This should have been fixed before the citizens was thrown away from their land without any compensation becoming Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in camps. That has happen in this regard, but the President only wants to praise for the industrial enterprise itself.

This factory needs to be remembered for all the folks who lost their land by the state and foreign investors who got it. Because, this wasn’t just a small token and building a factory somewhere. No, this was forcing an industry into an area. Bailing out an investor (Horyal) at least once, maybe twice in the years since 2016. Also, giving land cheaply to Madhvani Group to produce sugar-cane. Therefore, this isn’t a success, but a depressing move into modernity and producing of sugar.

It isn’t sweet, but it is instead bitter. Peace.

Uganda Wildlife Authority letter to All Residents of Adjumani District – “Re: Shifting of Apaa Market to Zoka Centre” (10.04.2019)

Press Statement by the Acholi Parliamentary Group: On the Issue of Land in Acholi Sub Region (28.02.2019)

Statement to Parliament on the Situation in Apaa Parish, Adjumani District by the Minister of Internal Affairs (05.0.2019)

Solidarity March against the Apaa Land Grab in Gulu today: It was shutdown by the Police!

Today, there was held an demonstration in Gulu town for the land evictions happing in Apaa village. This is a planned land grab by the authorities dating back to 2006. As the land in Amuru have been given to Madhvani Group to the planned Kakira Sugar Factory there. Therefore, these evictions have been planned for decades.

That why I rewrite this again: The Amuru Land Grab: What is ours, is OURS; What is their’s, is OURS; and Whatever is your’s, is still OURS.

Here is today’s reports:

SOLIDARITY MARCH Monday 4th February: Apaa Monitor has received information that a demonstration is taking place tomorrow at 8am, departing from Ker Kwaro Acholi head quarters in Gulu, in solidarity with those who are suffering in Apaa, and to denounce the atrocities that have taken place there. 8am, Ker Kwaro Acholi, Gang ker ma dit” (Apaa Monitor, 03.02.2019).

Acholi MPs; Amuru Woman MP Lucy Akello, Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya, Kilak North MP Anthony Akol and Aruu North MP Odongo Otto arrested over Apaa land demo. They were detained at Gulu Central Police Station for holding an illegal demonstration” (Edge.ug, 04.02.2019).

He we see again, that the public, the Members of Parliament and others are not allowed to address or voice out their grievances. This is currently very normal. Even if the people behind or organizing the demonstration had notified the authorities about their planned demonstration. The Police might still stop it or even bar it from happen.

They might have all the papers right, but still the police would come all out, because it doesn’t matter, even if they did follow the Public Order Management Act (POMA). The Police could still deem it illegal, as they didn’t notify correctly or “incited violence” breaking the penal code.

This is very common, therefore, I have a hard time believing this rally/demonstration was illegal. If it was, they did it this way. Because the MPs and the ones behind it, knew the authorities never would get it accepted. Since, the Apaa Land Grab is an accepted deal between the State and Madhvani Group since 2006. Therefore, the President would be humiliated and the Police Force cannot accept that. Peace.

President Museveni letter to PM Ruhakana Rugunda – “Re: Existence of a “Sugar Board” in Kampala” (19.08.2018)

Amuru Land Grab – Apaa Village Evictions: A long process of failure from the state!

That the Northern Uganda have been in deep end of the stick in many eyes is evident, by how lax the state has been to take care of their needs and their rights. That can now be proven by the forceful evictions from land in Apaa Village in Amuru District/Adjumani District. Where the previously have been attempts to make a giant farm for an investor called Bruce Martin and also become sugar cane plantations and factory for Kakira Sugar Factory owned by the Madhvani Group, this goes all the way back to 2006. Therefore, the plans to evict these people has been slow process from the state.

Now in 2018, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) have evicted dozens upon dozens of the local residents from their lands. As the purge on the village and the area continues, this has been in the making, but the ones losing their lands get nothing, but lose their homes and their livelihoods at the same time. The government authorities have torched the houses and left nothing behind, as they are continuing to evict people. Their lives are no meaningless, as they have to flee their land and are living on the United Nations Compound in Gulu, while awaiting their future, as the state, UWA and the Uganda People’s Defence Force have been evicting them over the last two months. Surely, the hurt is felt and real.

Who can wonder if the state is finalizing the agreement with Madhvani Group to deliver his second sugar factory and also sugar plantation in the area or they are making a game drive from Bruce Martin. However, this is still grabbing the land without any forewarning and also taking their livelihoods without any compensation for the hurt.

The District Land Board and Area Land Board cannot been informed or care to inform the people, as the army and UWA have been busy evicting people with force. They are just pawns on the chess-set, and the authorities in Kampala let it happen. The leadership from afar are accepting it and have gazetted the land and taken the land. Therefore, the people who has settled in Apaa have to flee or be evicted from the land, without any justice or law helping them out. No compensation and nothing left for them.

This sort of play has to stop; I am sure the State House is fully aware and let it happen, as they are getting their cut of the transaction of the land for whatever purposes it has. Its been planned for years, but doesn’t make it better, when they could have had solutions back-in-the-day as the government knew this would come. They were already in talks with both Kakira and with Martin. They knew perfectly well, what was up. There is even a third scenario where the land is sold to someone else named Linton Brimblecombe.

Clearly someone forgot the memo and left it stranded. They just evicting people in the favour of one lucky bastard who capture all lands, without paying the needed ones who was actually living their and done so for generations. This is a violation of the trust between the citizens and the government. Because someone accepted the trade of the land people where living on and had rights too.

The Apaa village and Apaa community deserves better, all of the Acholi deserves better. They are being misused and taken for granted by the government. They are just pawns on the chess-set. No value, the first one in the battle-line to take out so the ones of value can be put into play. That is how it looks from the outside.

This have been planned for decades and now it happens.

Amuru Land Grab: What is ours, is OURS; What is their’s, is OURS; and Whatever is your’s, is still OURS. Peace.

Kakira Sugar Limited addressing farmers strike (02.07.2018)

Hon. Otto Odonga: Notice of Motion to Censure Betty Amongin over abuse of Office (23.05.2018)

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