A look into the rising Sugar prices in Uganda!

I commissioned a state-of-the-art ethanol distillery at Kakira Sugar Factory in Jinja today (Museveni, 23rd January 2017)

There are various of reasons for the rising prices of Sugar and processed sugar in Uganda. This isn’t the first time or last cycle of inflation on the prices of this common commodity. Sugar is common in Uganda for concept of having in it in the chai or the milk tea. To sweeten the milk and the black tea the Ugandans drink. Therefore, the Ugandans are needing and using lots of it on daily basis. It isn’t a luxurious goods, but a daily usage, for ordinary use. It has become staple and is staple together with matooke, cassava, rice and maize flour. This is all seemed as basic for the Ugandan people. Sugar is something very important. Therefore, the rising prices says something is out balance.

The balance have now been lost a year after the election. The prices of goods and food was also rising in 2011, therefore, the Republic had the Walk 2 Work demonstrations. These was demonstrations against the rising food prices, which also meant the sugar at that time went up. The same is happening now. With also on alternative exception, that the producers are not only creating sugar for consumption anymore, but ethanol and bio-fuel. Therefore, the produce and profits are going to export bio-fuel and other products, instead of the sugar that the consumers in Uganda uses. This also is an explanation for the rising prices, as well the added exports to Kenya, where the producers gain more selling it there. Than in Uganda, take a look!

In April 2017 USMA commented:

Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association (USMA) says the increase in sugar prices has been prompted by the increase in cost of production and the deprecating shillings against major currencies. The Association’s Chairperson, Jim Kabeho says sugar millers were forced to announce what he called a paltry 4 percent increase on each 50-kilogram bag on ex-factory price. The increase according to Kabeho saw a 50-kilogram bag of sugar trading at one hundred and eighty five thousand shillings up from one hundred and seventy thousand shillings” (…) “Meanwhile a source at the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives who asked for anonymity says the Ministry suspects that the big players like Kakira could have decided not sell its sugar to the market so as to increase production at the ethanol its ethanol plant. The sources says sugar mills with ethanol plants are finally making money on sugar through on co-generation of power, alcohol and ethanol” (URN, 2017).

In April in Masindi:

Masindi district leaders have risen up against the Masindi district Resident Commissioner, Godfrey Nyakahuma over stopping sugar cane buyers from buying cane from Masindi district. Last week, Nyakahuma launched an operation of impounding trucks of all sugar cane buyers who buy sugar cane from Kinyara sugar limited out growers and over five trucks loaded with cane were impounded by police” (…) “Byaruhanga added that that is a sign indicating that Kinyara sugar Factory has no capacity to crush the available sugar cane adding that since Uganda has a liberalized economy let everyone come and buy the abundant cane available instead of leaving the farmers suffer with the monopoly of Kinyara sugar factory. Amanyire Joshua the former mayor Masindi municipality said that if Kinyara is saying that sugar cane buyers are poachers, Kinyara sugar factory is a smuggler because it is also doing the same. Mary Mujumura the deputy speaker Masindi district blamed Byaruhanga Moses the presidential advisor on political affairs for failing to advise the president on political issues saying that he is not supposed to enter into business matters” (Gucwaki, 2017).

In May 2017:

From last year’s average of Shs 3,000 per kilo of sugar, the price shot to Shs 4,000 early this year and is now hovering over Shs 5,500. A kilo of Kinyara sugar is the cheapest at Shs 5000, while Kakira sugar is selling at 6,000 a kilo. On the shelves, Kakira sugar and Lugazi sugar are scarce compared to Kinyara sugar, which is in plenty. Many dealers have now started hoarding sugar in order to benefit from anticipated price hike in the short term” (URN, 2017).

In May 2017 – Stanbic Statement:

The only category to buck that trend was wholesale & retail, where staff costs rose and employment fell. Average purchasing costs also rose in April, reflecting increased prices for animal feed, food stuffs, raw materials and sugar. Higher cost burdens were passed on to clients, leading to a further increase in output charges” (Stanbic Bank, 2017).

President Museveni praises Kakira Millers:

I would like to thank the Madhvani Group, despite the disappointment by Idi Amin. The family pioneered the production of sugar in Uganda. By 1972 they were producing 70,000 tons but today they have almost tripled the production to 180,000 tons,” he said. The President was today commissioning a state of the art ethanol distillery at Kakira Sugar Limited in Jinja district. The US$36 million facility, which is the largest in the East African Region, will be producing 20 million litres of ethanol annually” (…) “President Museveni pledged to address the issues to regulate the sugar industry but urged the Madhvanis to partner with farmers with large chunks of land for production of sugar-cane, as the cane is not a high value crop. He said people with small land holdings should be left to do intensive farming like the growing of fruits that give high returns. Turning to the issue of prices payable to sugar-cane out-growers, President Museveni advised the buyers and out-growers to sit together and agree on the prices taking into consideration the market prices globally” (Uganda Media Centre, 2017).

Government statement on the 11th May:

Speaking to 256BN on condition of anonymity a government official monitoring the situation said the manufacturers have not increased the factory price, but he conceded that the situation is worrying. “At the factory prices are stable. Why is it that the prices at the retail gate are high. This means that there are some distributors who are using the hiding strategy in order to rob Ugandans. As Government we shall continue monitoring the situation until we come up with the solution” the official said. Affordability of sugar is considered a key barometer of an ordinary person’s well-being and its pricing can take on political dimensions when people cannot have sugar with their tea” (256BusinessNews, 2017).

Putting the price in pespective:

Kakensa Media reported this today: “Today sugar costs 7000/- per kilo. When Museveni came to power in 1986 each kilo was at 4/-(four shillings). Immediately he came to power he said Ugandan shilling had lost value, in 1987 all money was changed, not only changed but two zeros were cut off to give it value on addition to the 30% levied on each shilling. This means on every 100 shillings, you got 70cents. Those who had 100,000/- got 700/-” (Kakensa Media, 12.05.2017).

This is all proof of a systemic malpractice, where both export, together with lacking yields because of drought and also the production of ethanol and bio-fuel. All of this collected together are reasons for the rising prices of sugar. The sugar price goes up because the use of cane for other things than millers producers sugar for consumption, but for other export products. This is all making sure even as the Republic of Uganda has in the past produces to much, it now doesn’t. Since it elaborately uses the sugarcane for other products.

That has made the Madhvani Group rich and their exports of sugarcane products are clearly selling. Now even their basic milled sugar are sold more expensive on the Ugandan market. There are also proven problems by other millers, who either has to much cane like Kinyara Sugar Factor in Masindi. Which is ironical problem, as the Kakira and Lugazi sugar is empty on the shelves, while the sugarcane hoarding Kinyara are still in the shops. But Kakira which is produced by Madhvani Group, we can now understand, since they have bigger operation and is blessed by the President for their industrial production of ethanol and bio-fuel.

Therefore, the are more reasons than just shopkeepers not getting enough stocks. That the rising prices are not only that there is lacking production. It is the system of export and production. Where the cane isn’t only becoming milled sugar for consumption, but for all the expensive industrial exports like bio-fuel and ethanol. This is all good business, but also bad for consumers and citizens who are accustom with decent prices for their sugar. That is not the fact anymore, as the business and millers has found new profitable ways. So that the surplus sugarcane and also the other gains massive profits. This is all good business for the owners of the sugar-millers and sugar industry. The one who feels the pitch is the consumer and the citizens. Who see scarcity of sugar inside the shops and also the inflation of prices on the sugar. Peace.

Reference:

256BusinessNews – ‘Government to issue statement on sugar’ (11.05.2017) link:http://256businessnews.com/government-to-issue-statement-on-sugar/

Gucwaki, Yosam – ‘MASINDI RDC IN TROUBLE OVER STOPPING SUGAR CANE BUYERS’ (28.04.2017) link: http://mknewslink.com/2017/04/28/masindi-rdc-trouble-stopping-sugar-cane-buyers/

Stanbic Bank Uganda – ‘Ugandan economic growth continues at start of second quarter’ (04.05.2017) link: https://www.markiteconomics.com/Survey/PressRelease.mvc/143ca2b8e3d84c79b96aed4885b7337e

URN – ‘Sugar manufacturer’s association explains price hikes’ (14.04.2017) link: https://dispatch.ug/2017/04/14/sugar-manufacturers-association-explains-price-hikes/

URN – ‘Uganda: Sugar Crisis On for Another 2 Years – Manufacturers’ (09.05.2017) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201705100129.html

Uganda Media Centre – ‘President Praises Madhvani Group’ (05.05.2017) link: https://mediacentre.go.ug/news/president-praises-madhvani-group

Norbert Mao the DP chief not Nominated as MP for Gulu Municipality

Norbert Mao NTV

Today is a special day, a former presidential candidate Norbert Mao who happen to be the Democratic Party in 2011, is after today not allowed to compete to become a MP from the Gulu Municipality, and we’re today told by Gulu Electoral Commission registrar Benson Obete for the reason of missing his National ID card. To top it all off now he cannot run as a MP, because he doesn’t have that National ID card(Had to say that twice!).

He had issues last time with photos and got a few hours to fix it(by the same Electoral Commission before the 2011 Nominations. This time it wasn’t that easy; because when the issuing of the National ID Cards he was sick (Reports are saying so). On that matter hen wrote to the Ministry of late General Aronda to get a reissue of the card. In so return nothing ever happen and Eng. Dr. Badru M. Kiggundu; has now said today; that he cannot give special treatment to any candidate.

Just a friendly reminder: Well, he did that with Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the NRM, who didn’t need to be nominated by his party before he verified his nomination form like the other candidates did (I’m just saying). But that is another issue (Indeed it’s Mzee we’re speaking about).

Norbert Mao has been under fire since last election and the reckless fall of one of the oldest parties in the Ugandan country. He has been hectic activity since 2010. He was also parts of the ‘Walk to Work’ protest and a presidential candidate before that. He has had issues with the Police a dozen of times, seen rallies destroyed by police and been jailed. As so many opposition leaders and MPs has been now and then. Even totally pinked by tear-gas in Kampala (that picture is legendary); also rumored dead for a while during 2015, which we all know is not true. So let me give you some more quotes and issues in his political life!

Norbert-Mao 2011

Backdrops on today:

Mao we’re born on 12. March 1967. In 1991 he had been able to get bachelor degree in Law at Makerere University where he was Guild President school year of 1990/91. In 1992 he got the Post Graduate Diploma from Law Development Center in Legal Practice. From 1992 to 1996 he worked in two companies as a lawyer. From 1996 till now he has been an MP. And in General Election in 2011 he tried to be the DP Presidential Candidate.

DP Mao

Some of his love-life:

“Naomi Odong Achieng was seen leaving UK 16/10/98 in the company of Nobert Mao MP with whom she is reported to be deeply in love. Nobert Mao is a regular visitor to London and the relationship between the two has been going on for some time to the annoyance of Nobert Mao’s family” (…)”Last night I called Prof Ogenga Otunnu at his Offices at the York University Toronto Canada where he is a lecturer. I asked him if there was any rumour in the story that his wife had been snatched. He was reluctant to speak to me. He however confirmed that it was indeed true Mao had stolen his wife. He said that it was not news the relationship has been going on for some time now” (Masaba, 1998).

23rd October 2009:

He said: “In Gulu Municipality we had to exercise serious vigilance to beat electoral fraud. In 1996, my toughest election yet, even dead soldiers ‘voted’!! But I know only one way to meet a cchallenge – HEAD ON!! when you stand up to bullies you get beaten down. But at least you can get up…unlike those who lie down voluntarily…they will be down for good…So let us stand up for our right to make our votes count…”

18th November 2010:

He cited: “We are in Moroto! Last night 4 UPDF soldiers were busy tearing down my posters while putting up President Museveni’s. When challenged by my team, one cocked a gun. His colleague ordered him to shoot. Our police escorts disarmed him. If UPDF soldiers can do this then we are in a circus not a campaign. We are not campaigning against a party but the state itself. It is a mockery of democracy!”.opposition-leaders-sam-lubega-2l-upcs-olara-otunnu-and-others-were-weted-by-tear-gas-yesterday-picture-by-michael-kakumirizi1

In 2010 the year before General Elections in 2011:

He said this: “hose holding guns are entirely dependent on the gun. Those who are spending tax payers’ money on campaigns are dependent on money but we are relying on the ordinary Ugandan and everybody should know that DP has resurrected” (…)”We welcome whoever had temporarily taken refuge elsewhere to return home. Whoever fears rain can even seek shelter in a night dancer’s home but the rain is no more” (…)”I told them I am a Ugandan and I never filled any form to be a Mucholi (sic). I told them those who attacked the Lubiri did so before I was born” (DP, 2010).  If you forgot the troubling paperwork on the 2010 nomination: ““I declare Nobert Mao of DP, who has complied with all the regulations,” Dr Kiggundu said, amidst ululations and shouts of joy from the 20 man team.

However, Dr Kiggundu also said because of natural justice, Mao would be allowed some few hours to present another set of postcard photographs to the EC “because the ones submitted have one ear.”The team comprised of MPs, John Kawanga, Joseph Balikudembe, Mathias Nsubuga, and Jinja Mayor Kezaala among others” (DP, 2010).

April 18 2011 Statement:

We are now detained at Kiira Road Police Station. Seven of us are here facing ridiculous charges of being part of an unlawful society. They claim to have reinstated the old charges of inciting violence and holding an unlawful procession. We shall not be cowed. We remain resolute about the cause we have embraced”.

walk-work-@3double8

Reports from 2012:

Norbert Mao has already been a disappointment to the party, including all the neutral potential supporters who would have joined DP.  It is two years since Mao was elected, and there’s nothing that one can show” (…)”I have not seen or heard Mao and his executive in villages consulting and building the party, or empowering supporters, except during the elections. Yet DP would probably find it a lot easier to mobilise people since its values are very close to people’s hearts, and it has no history of engaging in killings” (…)”he has failed to reconcile the DP young leaders who connect very well with the voters. These are Ms Betty Nambooze, Mathius Mpuuga, Medard Ssegona and Erias Lukwago, among others” (…)”The DP that Mao leads has not even got an official website.  Ironically, Mao has a personal website where he regularly communicates to his followers, but not to the entire DP membership” (…)”Surely the DP party leadership can afford to build four rooms somewhere in outer Kampala to house our offices in a clean and respected area. I am not expecting Mao to use his personal wealth, and that’s why I am talking about fundraising not bankrolling the party” (Mwaka, 2012).

30th March 2012:

He cited saying: “My heart wept to see that displaced people who had returned to their homes in Apa, Amuru District have been beaten, killed and their houses burnt by the army and police on orders of the government. 25 people are in detention for saying no to this injustice. 9 people are unaccounted for. Police claims they shot dead two people but only produced one body. This is going to be a long struggle against a so called foreign investor who wants to turn our home into a game ranch! On Tuesday we shall see how to get the detainees out on bail…Truth will ultimately triumph…”.

norbert-mao-quote-museveni-has-not-kept-his-promises-to-west-nile-i

6th August 2012:

He said this: “We have just had a serious clash with NRM officials at Messiah FM when the radio talk-show host wanted to stop our program because Crispus Kiyonga and the NRM entourage were pressurizing him to close our program. We are filing an official complaint with the Media Council and the Broadcasting Council. Our program was cut to only 30 mins! Not just bad politics but also bad manners….”

30th July 2013:

He stated: “Police today surrounded the DP headquarters. Six pick up trucks downstairs, a police bus and our balcony swarming with armed riot police. My Press Officer Fred Mwesigwa bravely faced them off when they claimed that they had heard that DP was planning to deliver foodstuffs to families of police officers and so they had come to search DP offices. Mwesigwa told them that unless they produce a search warrant from court the party would exercise its right to self defence and protect its right to privacy. Eventually they cops went to the street level when it became apparent that no one was afraid of them”.

In August 2013:

He said: “The Public Order Management Act is the last nail in the coffin of civil liberties in Uganda. It is a monument to arbitrariness. It has amended the constitution by the back door concluding the formality of turning Uganda into a police state”.

Norbert Mao Quote

In November 2014:

“Mao said that he declined the Prime Minister’s position because he knew it was going to yield nothing for him and the people of Uganda whose interests he fights for” (…)”He says that the only way he was ready to work with Museveni was to restore peace in northern Uganda and take Internally Displaced people back to the homes” (ThemBokaHunga, 2014).

In September 2015:

He said: “The opposition is not as weak and unkempt as it seems. If the opposition was so weak and utterly in disarray as some people seem to think, Museveni would not be running around scared of losing elections” (…)”He (Museveni) would not be seeking to be guest of honour at every little ceremony in the country. Museveni is running around scared because for once he can smell defeat and he knows that the army will not defend him and keep him in power when he is defeated at the polls. He is desperate for a semblance of legitimacy” (Musinguzi, 2015).

And in a statement: “The Bank of Uganda will still be used like Museveni’s private ATM, the military and police will serve the role of appendages to the regime and the Electoral Commission will be but a figurehead as state operatives run the elections behind the scenes” (…)”Museveni was a Minister at the time when I was a primary school pupil. I am now 48. Museveni is combatting the onset of senility. He struggles to present an image of youthfulness. He does press ups to dupe the unsuspecting public that he still has stamina. He dabs in rap music to project the image of a man in tune with modern musical trends. But all that cannot beguile Ugandans. As Bob Marley sang, you can fool some people all of the time and you can fool all the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all of the time” (Musinguzi, 2015).

Mao Masaka Mbabazi 091115

Afterthought:

If he doesn’t get it fixed to become really nominated to be MP for Gulu Municipality which gives a free for all for the other candidates in that constituency and the candidates that are nominated there either UPC or NRM. This gives other parties than DP who has made head-weight by the voters in that area. Since one of their big men and main candidates since 1996 is not on the ballot in February 2016. I am sure this has something to do with his affiliation at the current moment. He has been on the trail with Amama Mbabazi and supported him as a TDA Joint Presidential Candidate that is one of the reasons why DP doesn’t have a Presidential candidate, the same with Justice Forum Uganda (JEEMA) and People’s Progressive Party (PPP) so on. DP is not alone, even the UPC who now has a deal with NRM has the same conundrum. They solved it differently and directly having a deal with Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

For some time it seemed that DP was lingering towards NRM. That train has now left station. This proves the situation and how rigged the elections are. Certain bunch of losers from NRM Primaries can still be a part of the elections in 2016. They are running as Independents and have now worries. A number of them have been in talks with statehouse and they are already reassured from the Mzee.

The Gulu Municipality MP election results will be mind boggling and be weird. Since Norbert Mao will not be on the ticket. And he was going in for the President in 2011! Only – Made in Uganda! Peace.

Reference:

DP – ‘DP HAS RESURRECTED, SAYS MAO’ (26.10.2010)

DP – ‘I AM UGANDA’S OBAMA SAYS MAO’ (28.10.2010)

Masaba, Tony – ‘MP MAO STEALS EXILE’S WIFE; UK ACHOLI COMMUNITY OUTRAGED’ (17.10.1998)

Musinguzi, Bianshe – ‘Museveni Is Scared—Norbert Mao’ (08.09.2015) link: http://www.redpepper.co.ug/museveni-is-scared-norbert-mao/

Mwaka, Timothy – ‘Norbert Mao is a very weak DP leader’ (28.05.2012) link: http://www.ugandacorrespondent.com/articles/2012/05/norbert-mao-is-a-very-weak-dp-leader/

ThemBokaHungu – ‘NORBERT MAO REFUSED MUSEVENI’S OFFER FOR PREMIER’ (01.11.2014) link: http://thembokahungu.blogspot.no/2014/11/norbert-mao-refused-musevenis-offer-for.html

$50M sugar plant to open in Amuru district (Youtube-Clip)

“A multi billion shilling sugar processing plant in Atiak within the northern district of Amuru, will be commissioned soon” (…)”The USD$50M (UGX 175B) investment will have an installed capacity of 5,000Metric Tons, according to the project managers” (…)”The facility sits on 15,000 hectares of land half of which has now been planted with sugarcane” (NTV-Uganda, 2015).

You want more meat to the barbeque:

Check these blogs:

Here you get certain information about the land-grabs that is vital and pivotal to building of this kind of factory and development in Amuru:

Amuru Land Grab: What is Our’s is Our’s; What is theirs is ours; Whatever is yours, is still ours

Some prequel stuff as well:

Amuru Land Grabbing and MP arrested

Hope you also found this interesting! Peace.

 

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

YKM Amuru Land Deal

There has been a lot of news and articles on this matter because of the sensitive issue of owning land. Land can secure families and secure the heritage of the local people in the area. The issue is how to deal with wish of growing society and also keeping traditions. Also settling people in after years of war with the LRA and settle especially the ones that are seen as Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs). Another issue is if the government tries to deal with big monies and doesn’t include local patrons or community. That disfranchises the people and also grows a bigger distrust from the community about the government institution. That also shows the true color of especially some of that is, also the matter in the Amuru Land grabbing. I will not look into the local squats between families and also IDPs and local farmers stealing land from each other. That is equally important. But don’t have the space to write and find a good way to put it into this one. NRM-Regime has from day one been laisses faire economics and not governmental business orientated even if the President of 29 years was into communist thinking in the 70s. Also into business that gains the government, but not actually the public and citizens always. Therefore we have the heavy prices and expenditure of roads. The deals and arrangements hasn’t been made in sincerity of the public, therefore has also the MPs from the area in now bot the 8th Parliament and the 9th Parliament has reacted to deals that been set in fruition. The Madhvani deal is the big one and the one with the most flesh and grants. Also the Apaa village dispute over the land becoming a hunting ground instead of being a village for the people who actually live there. Then I will show other deals that have been questioned. This was the gist!

Professor Ogenga Latigo spoke his mind:
“While referring to the process of land acquisition for the project, Professor Ogenga Latigo, the former Member of Parliament for Agago county and Leader of Opposition in the 8th Parliament indicated that ―Government mishandled the Amuru case, while others informants argued: ―”The idea is not bad but the approach of establishing the sugarcane factory [was wrong, and besides the project] is imposed on the people, the project should be started when the people have returned to their land. The priority should be to give chance to the locals to resettle before establishment of the sugarcane factory” (Serwajja, 2012).

Basic information from 2005:
“Gulu district in her endeavor to alleviate poverty and promote development is committed to mainstream environmental concerns in its implementation strategies. The district continues to rely on the natural resources as important sources of income. It is been noted that over 82% of the population depend on agriculture and this can call for immediate up-date on status of the natural resources in the district” (Langoya & Ochora Odoch, 2005).

Land Law information about in Uganda:
“Tenure arrangement:
Until 1995, customary tenants did not legally own land they occupied. The land belonged to the State, and the tenants were merely permitted to live on it (Tenants at Sufferance). According to its preamble, the Decree was intended to provide for the vesting of title to all land in Uganda IN TRUST for the people of Uganda. The Constitution of 1995 vested land in the citizens of Uganda as opposed to land vested in the State, as was the case with the Crown Land and consequently Public Land.
Therefore:
• Customary tenants on Public Land were empowered to own land occupied.
• Three quarters of land in Gulu falls under customary tenancy hence Communal Land Management.
• The Land Act 1998 favoured the Acholi customary land holding e g. communal cultivation, communal grazing, and settlements” (Langoya & Ochora Odoch, 2005).

Important land law:
“Section 92 of Uganda’s Land Act (1998, Cap. 227) states that “a person who…makes a false declaration in any manner relating to land” or “willfully and without the consent of the owner occupies land belonging to another person”… “commits an offence.” Notably, however, the Penal Code Act does not mention land-related crime or theft, robbery, or grabbing of immovable property” (Northern Uganda Land Platform, P: 6, 2014).

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), or ‘mediation’ as it is known, is not as technical, costly, or time-consuming as formal court processes, and aims to promote harmony among community members rather than naming a winner and a loser” (Northern Uganda Land Platform, P: 18, 2014).

“Migration characteristics:
Virtually, there are no refugee settlements in the district. However, large number of people in rural areas has moved to the forty six Internally Displaced Persons’ Camps and urban areas (RUM). It is noted that the Population in camps have risen from 291,000 people in 2001 to 438,765 people in 2004 and those in the urban centres from 38,297 people in 1991 to 113,144 people in 2002. Due to the same insurgency, there is also movement of people from Gulu district to the neighboring districts of Nebbi, Adjumani, Apac, Lira, Masindi and other Districts, not mentioned here” (Langoya & Ochora Odoch, 2005).

“Three criteria are found to be reliable indicators of bad faith. These reveal themselves as the ADR process unfolds, and include:” (…)”RIGHTS: Land rights of each party. These are determined by family ties, marital status, and transactions (gifts and sales)” (…)”INTENT: Parties’ demonstrated willingness to (not) respect these land rights. Usually evidenced by the presence of any “warning signs” and/or similar actions, body language, and statements” (…)”POWER: Parties’ perceived ability/opportunity to deprive opponent of land rights. This is context-specific, and may be assessed through probing” (Northern Uganda Land Platform, P: 7, 2014).

amuru-disctrict-shannon-tito

Some information on the Area Land Committee(ALC):
“A major point of breakdown apparently concerns the integrity of the Lands Administration itself. Although Area Land Committees are the “eyes and ears” of the District Land Board—thus vital to the process of land surveying and registration at the grassroots—these bodies remain under-facilitated, unsupervised, and unsurprisingly corrupt” (Northern Uganda Land Platform, P: 75, 2014).

Witnesses from the ALC:
”There’s no supervision of ALCs. So they go and do the work the way they want… because they’re human, sometimes they’re stubborn. On the basis of relationship… they can favor somebody. There may be a boundary dispute that was really not resolved – but in their report they say the dispute was ‘decided” (…)”“…a nightmare. The Kakira Sugar Works Limited overdemands money! Your file can be lost if you don’t pay them. I have to be very bold with these people, and tell applicants what really goes on. The corruption is highly coordinated, you can’t penetrate it. They look at you as if you are stupid if you don’t hand them extra money. I think the reason why no official fee structure exists has to do with the people behind private survey firms. If survey rates become fixed, then they lose business.” (…)”If I want to do something, you have the knowledge, I have the money. Money is very evil. However principled I am in my work, there’s some degree to which I will bend. All government offices are strained. No department says they have enough facilitation to do their work… We need to agitate, put it to the government that resources be looked at. Facilitating the ALCs alone will not solve the problem. Instead of centralizing the court, where people cannot afford travel costs (80-100km away), can we facilitate departments to do their work?” (Northern Uganda Land Platform, P: 75, 2014).

One set of background for Acholi land grab:
“To a number of locals in Northern Uganda, the issue of Customary Land Titles/ Certificates continues to evolve, and the rush to pilot this project has raised a number of questions and concerns about state involvement in land-related issues” (…)”In 1995, the Constitution of Uganda gave the right to own land to Ugandan citizens and any Ugandan could settle anywhere following due procedure. Following the passage of the 1995 Constitution the customary land tenure system was uplifted to the level of freehold tenure” (…)”As such, a clear definition and understanding of public land becomes imperative to securing access to land rights. One such example is the act of Amuru District Land Board allocating 40,000 hectares of land to Madhvani Group of Companies for sugar cane plantations. This allocation was made in the understanding that the land was public land. To community members this was a clear mismanagement by the land boards and manipulation of customary land rights by state institutions” (Otim, Ina & Cody, 2012)

“Lending credence to the perception of threat was highly public pressure from central government (including the President personally) for the opening up of Acholi land to investors, large-scale commercial farming, and other forms of ‘development’. From early 2007 this pressure was focused on giving land – originally 40,000 hectares, later reduced to 20,000 – in western most Amuru District to the Madhvani-owned Kakira Sugar Works Limited for a sugar cane plantation” (United Nation, 2013).

Main issues in Acholiland on land:
“Many Acholis oppose the project not only because Acholi cultural land is not to be sold, but also because many of the owners of that land are still in camps and, because of displacement due to war and the consequences, have not yet been able to return to their ancestral birthplace” (Kligerman, P:28, 2009). A World Bank report in July 2008 recommended a moratorium on land titles to investors in Acholiland until residents had residents had returned home from camps and people had been “sensitized” to land issues (Atkinson, R, 2008). The report also recommended that the government demonstrate its commitment to protecting natural resource rights (Atkinson, R, 2008); this is remarkable support for the Acholi people, particularly considering that the World Bank is one of major promoters of land privatization globally” (Kligerman, P: 29, 2009).

Insecurity when it comes to Land in Acholiland:
First one:
“Previous and on-going attempts by private individuals to acquire private interests in land which is perceived to be owned communally. Acholi leaders believe that Government is engaged in designs to help well placed and politically influential people from other parts of the country to access and enclose land in Acholi land. Common Property Resources are particularly targeted by individuals as well as government agencies” (Rugadya, P: 3, 2009).

Second one:
“Investor interest in the region; Pursuit of land access by large-scale commercial interests, speculators and grabbers was also causing tension particularly in the Acholi sub-region. The concern is that commercial agricultural interests will be cavalier in their treatment/understanding of land rights and land use issues. A number of highly publicized multiple attempts to acquire land in the sub-region presumably for investment and potential government development programmes, while some of these proposals may have been legitimate investment programmes to help re-establish peace and spur economic development activities in the region, the absence of a clear national policy and institutional framework for pursuing these initiatives has fueled the suspicion that “government” or investors as trying to usurp their land” (Rugadya, P: 4, 2009).

On Land Policy:
“Hostility towards government land policy is acute. MP Reagan Okumu asserts that there is a kind of ‘scramble’ for Northern Uganda, accompanied by a deliberate effort to deny Northern Uganda any development by scaring away investors. He says that because people in Northern Uganda are poor, whenever one flashes money around, they will sell their land at even low prices” (Otim & Mugisha, P:9, 2014).

Continuation on land and allocation of it:
“In Uganda, land is the single greatest resource for which a large majority of the population derives its livelihoods – because of the importance attached to land in all communities, conflicting interests in are unavoidable” (…)”Okoth-Ogendo describes land as a political resource which defines power relations between and among individuals, families and communities under established systems of governance” (Mabikke, P:6, 2011).

Allocation Part II:
“These land allocations dominate in the western area of Amuru district. These concessions have spurred major discussions on land grabbing in Acholi land. Central to these concerns has been highly public pressure from central government for opening up of Acholi land for “development” since early 2007 to allocate” (…)”land in Amuru district to the Madhvani Group for a large-scale sugar cane plantation. Reports from aggrieved Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) – a group of Acholi parliamentarians accuse the GoU for assisting investors to grab land in northern Uganda. According to APG, the Central Government’s support for alienating land for commercial sugar cane farming in the north has been accompanied by powerful individuals gaining, or attempting to gain, private title to land that overwhelmingly belongs to communal landholding groups” (Mabikke, P:19-20, 2011).

Amuru

On IDPs and Returnees:
“Some returnees allege that the government grabbed large tracts of their land while they were in the IDP camps and offered these tracts to private investors. For example, in March 2008, the Madhvani Group submitted an application to the Amura District Land Board for 20,000 ha of land near to the Nile River for a sugarcane plantation. The local government approved the application with an initial allocation of 10,000 ha for a period of 49 years. Some of this land is claimed by returnees. In November 2008, several parliamentarians from the Acholi sub-region filed an application in the High Court in Gulu and obtained an ex-parte (temporary) injunction against the Madhvani Group, Amuru District Land Board and other respondents for interfering or encroaching on the disputed land. In ensuing court hearings, the Amuru District Land Board was forbidden from issuing new leases on the disputed land until the hearing and determination of the main suit. As of June 2010, the suit is still pending in the High Court” (Veit, 2010).

The Land Matrix database indicates that four large scale land deals amounting to 76,512 hectares were concluded in Uganda. In 1992, the government of Uganda signed an agreement with the Libyan government to allocate three large chunks of land, i.e. Bukaleba Beef Ranch (4,000 hectares), Aswa Ranch (46,000 hectares) and Maruzi Ranch (16, 376 hectares (Okello, 2006). Meanwhile, Egyptian government planned to establish grain farms on land totalling to 840,000 hectares (Kugelman and Levenstein, 2009) and Agri-SA holds about 170,000 hectares of arable land in Uganda (Mabikke, 2011). Similarly, the Ugandan government tried to allocate 7,100 hectares of land to the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL) to produce more sugar although the civil society resisted the allocation through massive demonstrations and appealing to donors to block the proposal (NAPE and Friends of the Earth International, 2012)” (Serwajja, 2012).

First information on Sugar factory in Amuru district:
“Box 1. Madhvani Amuru sugar works proposal:
In 2006 news began to emerge of a planned sugar works to be built by the Madhvani Group on 40,000 hectares of land in Amuru district. The proposal envisaged a joint venture between the Amuru Sugar Works (owned by the Madhvani family) and the government, with a projected cost of US$80 million (Shs 162 billion) and included construction of a factory, a power generation plant, a water treatment plant and reservoir, workshops, stores, fuel stations and administration blocks, staff housing and amenities including hospital and educational facilities, etc.34 Amuru Sugar Works anticipated employing up to 7,200 people (25 foreign and the rest local) directly at the factory and some 5,000 on outgrowers’ farms, providing a livelihood to around 70,000 people in total. Five villages to accommodate 200 farmers each were to be built in the nucleus estate. In these villages, farmers would benefit from education and health services, while extension and credit services, agricultural equipment for land clearing, ploughing and furrowing, and a development fund would be used to support outgrowers. According to the proposal, 200km of road network would be built on both the nucleus estate and surrounding areas.5 Despite the proposed benefits of the project, a political storm over the proposal quickly grew, with the Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG), under the leadership of MP Hon Livingstone Okello-Okello, arguing that the investment should not proceed until all internally displaced persons (IDPs) had safely returned and that the required land of 40,000 hectares was too big to be given out for a single investor, since the population was growing fast and in the process of returning from camps.6 Madhvani Group representatives, accompanied by President Yoweri Museveni, visited the north at the end of 2007 in a bid to gain support for the project. Museveni asked the Acholi paramount chief, His Royal Highness Lawii Rwodi David Onen Acana II, to undertake a consultative process by setting up a committee to assess the land in question, research the sugar industry and gather community views. The proposal has subsequently been reduced to 20,000 hectares for the nucleus estate and 10,000 for outgrowers. In July 2008 newspapers reported that during a meeting organised by the APG, residents resolved unanimously not to give their land to any investors. Most recently, following dissatisfaction regarding the ruling of the Amuru Land Board in favour of the Madhvani Group, a group of residents from Amuru district, led by MP Hon Simon Oyet, secured a court order stopping any transactions on land in the district, with the deputy paramount chief of the Acholi, Rwot Otinga Otto, calling on clan leaders and cultural heads to resist giving land to Madhvani if they are not consulted, saying: ‘Just rise up against whoever gives away land without your consent’” (International Alert, 2009).

The background to deal:
“The first public indication of Madhvani’s interest in a sugar cane plantation in the ‘north’s central part’ of Uganda – that is, Acholi – came in a New Year’s Day New Vision Business article, ‘Madhvani to set up second sugar factory’ (1 January 2007) . By July, this interest had become specifically identified as a 40,000 hectare tract of land in Amuru District – see, for example, two New Vision articles from 30 July 2007, one from the Local North section, ‘Acholi MPs asked to support sugar factory’, the other an Opinion piece by Gulu District
Chairman, Norbert Mao, ‘Sugar is sweet but Acholi cannot afford a raw deal’. It is important to note that the land sought by Madhvani is situated in an area cleared of people by the colonial government almost a hundred years ago and made a game reserve. But evidence of various Acholi group’s historical claims to customary land in the area, and its continued use through most of the 20th century for hunting by groups with recognized customary rights is extensive. It is also worth noting that this is also a part of Amuru where preliminary research indicates possible oil reserves, and where Government has given out licenses for oil exploration – as confirmed in a letter dd. 4 September 2008 from Daudi Migereko, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, in response to a request for information on the matter by J.J. Okello-Okello, Chairman of the Acholi Parliamentary Group” (United Nation, 2013).

“The project entails acquisition of 40,000 hectares of land in perpetuity and at zero cost, implicitly the people of Lakang are meant to give away the land for development of the sugar industry. Half of the land, 20,000 hectares, will be used to establish a central business district (nucleus estate) of the factory that will entirely be under the management of the Madhvani Group and the remaining land will leased to the communities to grow sugarcane under the out-grower scheme. At the same time, the Madhvani Group will acquire a title deed to the land in question (40,000 hectares) in a quest to secure additional funding of about US$50 million from the African Development Bank” (Serwajja, 2012).

A review of the feasibility study report for proposed sugar project in Amuru district revealed that the area was preferred because of availability of permanent source of water which would provide water for irrigation and proposed factory. The proposed project is located about 6 kms is near the river Nile. Other suitable conditions for sugar cane growing identified included suitable topography with undulating plains, reliable rainfall of 1029 mm annually and fertile soils (sandy clay loam and loam) and availability of spear type of grass which is easy to clear (Madhivani Group March 2007). For the investors acquiring land from the UIA, they had to ensure that the land had no conflicts. For investors who acquired land from the UIA and DLBs, there are guidelines that prescribe all the processes for acquisition” (…)”In Amuru district, an investor had fenced off land cutting off adjustment villages from a health centre and a weekly market. Similarly, in the Kaweeri coffee plantation, the community complained about restrictions of movement through the plantation to access their villages. Since part of the process of land acquisition does not require understanding a gender analysis, its implications on women and men will not be understood and therefore such scales and effects will not inform planned actions“(Kanyesigye, P:13 & 15, 2014).

Amuruland

On the 11th December 2014 Attorney General Peter Nyombi wrote this in a letter:
“In a cabinet meeting presided over by H.E. the President, while briefing cabinet on the progress made so far by regarding the above project you informed cabinet that the survey of the project land would be done after the by-elections in Amuru District” (…)”Could you therefore have the land surveyed and the occupants of the same established and their property on the same recorded and valued so that the project can go ahead” (Nyombi, 2014).

Two other cases:
First case:
“According to the minister’s letter dated 7th January 2008, Major General Julius Oketa had applied to be issued with a certificate of title for approximately 10,000 hectares of land located in Amuru district for a sugar industry. The letter shows that there was no functional
Area Land Committees (ALC) in place which would inspect the land before issuing the title” (Mabikke, P: 20, 2011)

Second Case:
“A similar case of alleged land grabbing is cited in the petition presented to the Speaker of the Parliament, filed by Hon. Okello-Okello John Livingstone – chairman APG. Okello reported several attempts of land grabbing involving senior government officials in northern Uganda.
In 1992 the GoU signed a protocol with the Government of Libya giving away the following large chunks of land namely;
• Bukaleba Beef Ranch 4,000 hectares,
• Aswa Ranch 46,000 hectares
• Maruzi Ranch 16,376 hectares” (Mabikke, P:20, 2011).

A third case:
“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).

Fourth Case: 

Omoro County Suvey of Land

On the 9th of September of 2015 the police arrested the Amuru MP Hon Gilbert Olanya. Residents has reacted to buy of land and grabbing of Apaa village. The Villages and the MP was forced into the Police car even with the NTV camera crew in the place.

The TDA press release said this: “Three people are now confirmed dead by sources in Apa. Several people suffered grave injuries and are being treated at Amuru health centre. The Member of Parliament Gilbert Olanya was arrested and is believed to be detained in Masindi police station” (Minbane, 2015).

Afterthought:
I think I have said enough. If you’re not enlighten and gotten more clear information on the subject and the issue that these people are living through, then I am sure you should read more reports and dwell on the matter at hand. It is a sensitive matter that by my reckoning hasn’t been dealt in the best way. The arrangement and deals has been beneficiary for the government and state institutions, but not in favor of the demand in the districts. Also it has not put into an account what the local area needs or settlement of the IDPs after the long war in the war-torn area of the Northern Uganda. So many people are still in tents in the camps instead of building themselves into a stabile life. That is really growing prosperity and not just short and quick bucks with the sale of big areas located to foreign and not local merchants. Also fertile land is being sold to either facilitate a giant sugar-factory or as another big time deal to become hunting grounds instead of a place where the citizens can live and earn a livelihood. When this kind of actions happen from the government officials in Kampala and not directly with due diligence locally, then there will be frictions and anger towards the men who gave the businessmen the opportunity to occupy the lands. There are already as seen in many of the reports many smaller incidents between neighbors and family members to allocate lands in the Amuru and Adjumani district. Therefore this will be a sensitive issue that will not be over, especially not over until the next sunset. There will be many moons and even more hot air before a certainty is there. Especially when the Government overrules and sells the land without doing proper procedure and allocations, without checking the status of the area as it unfolds. They the government officials are just pocketing money quick and then send police to get rid of those who live there. At the same time having citizens in the camps as IDPs without a possibility to land and harvest, to find work to sustain them and live. That should have been the priority and not the businessmen from a far. Which is also the main reason why the locals reacts that strongly towards this land grabs and how they feel overrun and not listen to by the powers to be. In this case of the Government of Uganda and their LDC and certain ministries that have put the allocations into effect. An in this particular cases might put the quick monies before the additional and usually most important feature of any government institutions the people and the citizens before the contracts of selling the lands. Henceforth it’s understandable why people react and demonstrate when they feel wronged by the ones that supposed to serve you and secure security and care so you earn your livelihood. And that shouldn’t be too much to ask from the NRM-Regime, though it seems more likely that the big sums of monies matter more than the public reactions at this present time. Also that the continuation of disfranchising the northern districts of Uganda continues, especially with the Oil findings in Western/North Western Uganda – Bunyoro while Amuru and Adjumani will lose more to that area than even before. Peace.
Reference:
Kanyesigye, Juliet – ‘Hearing the other Voice: Investor perspectives on Protection of Women’s Land Rights in Large scale Land Acquisition in Uganda’, Submitted to the World Bank Conference 2014 on Land and Poverty 23-27th 2015, Washington D.C.

Kligerman, Nicole – ‘Alienation in Acholiland: War, Privatization and Land Displacement in Northern Uganda (2009)

Langoya & Ochora Odoch, Walter – Gulu District Local Government – ‘District State of Enviroment Report (2005) – Gulu, Uganda

Mabikke, Samuel B – ‘Escalating Land Grabbing In Post-conflict Regions of
Northern Uganda: A Need for Strengthening Good Land Governance in Acholi Region’ (08-11.04.2011) – Paper presented at the International Conference on Global Land Grabbing, University of Sussex

Minbane – ‘Press Release: TDA condems the violent and forceful eviction in Apa Uganda’ (08.09.2015) link: https://minbane.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/press-release-a-condemns-the-violent-and-forceful-eviction-in-apa-uganda-08-09-2015/

Northern Uganda Land Platform – ‘Power & Vulnerability in land Dispute Resolution – Evaluating Responses to Domestic Land Grabbing in Northern Uganda’ (Lira, May, 2014)

Nyombi, Peter – ADM/7/168/01 – ‘Re: Land for the Sugar Project in Amuru District’ to Hon. Daudi Migereko, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Kampala

International Alert – ‘Contributing to a Peace Economy in Northern Uganda:
A Guide for Investors’ (06.2009)

Rugadya, Margaret A. – ‘UNVEILING GENDER, LAND AND PROPERTY RIGHTS IN
POST-CONFLICT NORTHERN UGANDA’ (November, 2008)

Serwajja, Eric – ‘The Quest for Development Through Dispossession: Examining Amuru Sugar Works in Lakang-Amuru District of Northern Uganda’ (17-19.10 2012) – Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI)

Otim, Denis Barnabas, Ina, Jahn & Cody, Emily – Refugee Law Project MUK – ‘Conflict Watch: “Land and Investment” – Balancing Local and Investor Interest’ (August 2012)

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

United Nation – ‘LAND CONFLICT MONITORING and MAPPING TOOL for the Acholi Sub-region – Final Report March 2013’

Veit, Peter – ‘Focus on LAND in Africa – Breif: CONFLICT, DISPLACEMENT, AND LAND RIGHTS IN UGANDA: Uganda’ (December, 2010)

Uganda – Amuru Land Grabbing and MP Arrested

More to come later!

Peace.

Press Release: TDA condemns the violent and forceful eviction in Apa, Uganda (08.09.2015)

land-graphic

Kampala, Tuesday, 8 September, 2015:

The Democratic Alliance (TDA) has learnt with shock and consternation of the deployment of heavily armed police and the military in Apa Parish, Pabbo sub county, Amuru district. The aim of the deployment is to subdue the residents violently in order for the government to demarcate boundaries between the districts of Amuru and Adjumani. They also claim that they want to demarcate the boundary of East Madi Hunting Area.

In 2012 the Uganda Wildlife Authority sent armed Rangers with the backing of police and the army to forcefully evict the residents of Apaa. People were beaten up, their livestock raided, their houses burnt and their crops set on fire. Some young men were shot dead in the operation. Twenty five men were arrested, beaten severely, taken to Adjumani where they were charged with offenses ranging from criminal trespass, being idle and disorderly to threatening violence.

Primary schools were closed down, the pupils and teachers sent away and the school desks were being used as firewood by the army and police. In fact the school became the command post of the army complete with a road block along the road leading to the school.

We are aware that this forceful eviction is being driven by a profit motive. We are also aware that at the instigation of Hon. Moses Ali, the area had been offered by Adjumani district to one Bruce Martin, a foreign investor, to be developed as a private game ranch and hunting area. We feel that since the affected area is not under the exclusive jurisdiction of Adjumani district, it requires cross border collaboration and a joint discussion and a shared decision and consent by the neighboring districts of Amuru and Adjumani.

After the incident where mother of Apa exposed themselves naked be fore the government delegation in protest, government made a commitment that a border meeting would be convened to listen to the concerns of the residents and the leaders.

To our surprise, we were told that three days ago a team comprising the army, police and other government officials were already on the ground and had come in via Adjumani district and were carrying out a survey, boundary opening and were also planting mark stones. This was in total contravention of the spirit of dialogue. Leaders tried to access Apa but roadblocks were set up and they were prevented from speaking to the people.

Three people are now confirmed dead by sources in Apa. Several people suffered grave injuries and are being treated at Amuru health centre. The Member of Parliament Gilbert Olanya was arrested and is believed to be detained in Masindi police station.

We condemn the greed behind this illegal and violent eviction of people trying to settle down after twenty years in concentration camps. We demand that this illegal survey and boundary demarcation he halted immediately.

Only open and transparent dialogue with the affected communities can resolve this matter. Force and violence by the army and police will only escalate an already volatile situation. For centuries the people of Madi and Acholi have coexisted and lived peacefully and there has never been any dispute over the administrative boundaries of the two districts. A case in point is Bibia Parish which is located in Attiak Subcounty, Amuru district and has a considerable population of ethnic Madi people. The administrative boundaries of Amuru and Adjumani are well known. That is why we believe that this current dispute is being orchestrated by greedy people who have selfish interests.

We now propose the following way forward:-

1. Any attempt at a unilateral process of survey and boundary opening at the instance of Adjumani district or the central government should be halted.
2. A high level meeting of government representatives, leaders from the districts of Adjumani and Amuru should be convened by to clarify issues of contention and provide an initial platform for dialogue.
3. A meeting of the communities that reside in the affected area should be convened in order that they become part of the efforts to seek a solution rather than being victimized by decisions and actions imposed from above.
4. Trusted mediators should be sought and asked to get involved in facilitating dialogue by the affected communities. The residents of Apa have for instance proposed that Archbishop John Baptist Odama and retired Bishop Macleod Baker Ochola be asked to mediate in this conflict.

TDA stands in solidarity with the people of Apa. We demand that the media blackout and the isolation of Amuru stops. This brings back memories of Operation North when the entire region was cordoned off as soldiers violated human rights with reckless abandon.

Finally, we know that the NRM regime doesn’t adhere to the rule of law but we wish to state that the matter is before the courts of law and the court has issued an injunction against any further survey and boundary opening.

Government should act impartially and without any undue delay in order that an amicable solution to this problem be found.