Since March 2017, the Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) have been struggling, it started even before then, but at that time. The state started to intervene, by the next month in April 2017. The state had already put the company under provincial ownership. Meaning, that the state took it over and has tried to find new ownership of this company. Something it hasn’t succeeded in. This all happened because of the Libyan crisis in 2011 and the frozen accounts of Libya Post Telecommunications & IT Company (LPTIC), which had a majority ownership in the UTL until that point. However, they didn’t get all out before March 2017. Even as there was a set-up a new board in the Company in fall of 2016. Even, with all of this, the UTL continues to live, but by mere state injections and not because it is viable for business.
Even after a year in May 2018, the Cabinet announced that they were looking for new owners, alas, meaning that the state wouldn’t have the major stake in the company. Why I am saying all this? Well, the news this week that Minister Evelyn Anite and government sources states this:
“The source added that the government had created incentives to make the company more attractive. They include managing the backbone, wiping all the liabilities off the balance sheet, and that the government would take responsibility for the pension liability of more than Shs 30 billion to former UTL employees. Other liabilities that the government would take care of include the regulator’s fees and taxes. “All these wipe off the balance sheet and handed it [UTL] to you, clearly you can start from a clean slate.” the source said” (URN – ‘Gov’t offers to pay Shs 500bn UTL liabilities’ 20.04.2019, link: https://observer.ug/news/headlines/60467-gov-t-offers-to-pay-shs-500bn-utl-liabilities).
With this in mind, the state would clean the slate of the company, an embattled one who is fighting in a competitive market. Where it is directly competing against the mighty MTN and Airtel. Therefore, the UTL needs an decent upgrade, as it has been in a stalemate for years now. Where the lack of investment in the company and the debt it have already.
We can clearly see that the company is not so viable. The lack of interest and value is shown as the President even needed to direct the state ministries to use the UTL Internet Services and mobile phone services by a letter in January 2018. That is why, a year after that, the government sources are trying to connect it even more and juice it up. Even if it has little to offer.
The UTL doesn’t look solid or offering something of strong value for a buyer. As it has a strong competition and they are on point when concerning the telecom infrastructure, which the UTL haven’t the ability to afford to do or invest in. Therefore, the next owner has to pick up, where the Libyan owners left off. Since, the state haven’t done anything else, than keeping it alive. Peace.
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.