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Archive for the tag “Hon. Jacob Olanyah”

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.

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Opinion: Hon. Kipoi is in a land of trouble, but is the charges justified?

Today Tony Kipoi, the former Member of Parliament in the 9th Parliament in the constituency of Bubulo West. In 2014 he had issues that he had no excuse for not taking part of 15 sittings in the row. Therefore, the Parliament threw him out and had a By-Election to chase him out of his seat. Well, just a year into his term (2012) as MP he was arrested for his connection with rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, however, that didn’t stop him from serving a few more years, before he was kicked out. Therefore, in retrospect, the issue wasn’t really there, but somehow it became one.

Other than this, there are a Press Release from 24th December 2012, where the Police Force states this: “Yesterday, Sunday, 23 December 2012, the Police with its sister security agencies, arrested Hon. Kipoi Tony Nsubuga of Bubulo East constituency at 10:30 in Matimuku Guest House, Njala Village, Fort Portal, Kabarole district, while he was holding a meeting with some Ugandan security officers and Congolese rebel officers. The Ugandan Officers and Congolese rebels were also arrested. For, some time, now, the Police with its sister security agencies have been closely monitoring subversive activities of Hon. Kipoi Tony in and out of the country. In particular, he has been recruiting personnel from our security services as well as Congolese rebels belong to a Congolese rebel group called COGAI, based in areas around Bunia, Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo. He had promised to support the rebel groups with fire arms.We also have information, that Hon. Kipoi Tonny has foreign sponsors who at this point it would not be wise to disclose” (Ugadna Police Force, 24.12.2012).

In April 2014, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni expressed this about Kipoti:

You elected a mad man Kipoi and when he got there, he wanted to overthrow the NRM government with guns. We threw him in. But because of the courts which are confused, they released him on bond and he fled to Congo. You have been here for long without any representation” (State House, 14.04.2014). T

What is striking with this, if this fellow Member of Parliament was already monitored and already had an issue with the and had to be arrested one year after becoming MP. Why wouldn’t the Electoral Commission disqualify him and his candidacy in Bubulo West? Since he was already known for his foreign support of the COGAI in Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo?

The strangest thing, is that there is no direct connection with COGAI or FPRI. Which the state tries to put forward, and when it comes to making such accusation the state has usually delivered easily against detractors. Therefore, I had to look into possible sources and finds very little proof behind the accusation and the actual connection. Other than police in 2012, but nothing else connecting Tony to any warlord in the DRC.

The pure evidence of a Ugandan connection to FPRI or COGAI is this one from the UN Security Council in 2012: “FRPI also sells gold directly to Ugandan armed forces officers posted along the Congolese border. A regular client, cited by Congolese armed forces, militia members and a Lendu community leader, is a former Ugandan armed forces officer, Alex Mugisha. In exchange for gold, he has delivered arms and munitions to FRPI at the Semliki border crossing” (UNSC, P: 25, 15.12.2012).

With this evidence, there are clear indication that the group of rebels connected to Kipoi has traded their conflict minerals or gold with Ugandan counterparts. Therefore, to have middlemen in Uganda seems natural at this point. That is why the Presidents family is involved in this business as well.

But going back in time, the Observer had an article in 2nd November 2014 written by Sadab Kiatta Kaaya which stated: “In November last year, he was arrested by the DRC authorities but was later accorded a guest-of-the-state status, accommodated and protected by the DRC government. “You know he is a crafty man. I think when he got arrested, he told them that he has a rebel group and given the problems we have with them [DRC], they felt he would be of value to their interests,” Ambassador Kinobe said, when asked about Kipoi’s whereabouts” (The Observer – ‘DR Congo refuses to hand over ex-MP Kipoi’ 02.11.2014).

So after the troubles with law, even as a lawmaker and MP. He still had issues, which followed him from 2012 and also with the refusal to show-up in the Parliament. Tony has been one whose been in the spotlight of the President and the NRM. He has been one of many who has been alleged connected with militias and charged with treason. Kipoi isn’t the first one. He won’t be the last. What I wonder is who is connected to Alex Mugisha and does the business with the Congolese Rebels from Ituri. That would answer a lot of open questions.

It is hard to believe the information directly from the state, especially considering how they are not transparent about their looting of Congolese gold to through the Ugandan businesses. These are kept low-key and used to earn vast fortunes on others misfortunes. While supporting militias and insurgency inside the DRC. That is not news, but a fact that has been stated through international investigations and through the system of the United Nations Experts.

I’m just also wondering why Museveni turned on Kipoi and as he made him MP before taking him down. Now he is supposed detained and jailed in Uganda after a being in exile in Botswana. Why is suddenly back in the spotlight and getting into issues. What did he really do, pee on the lawn outside of the State House? Did he offend the buttocks of the Janet Museveni? What did he really do?

Would be nice to get some proper representation of the possible crimes he did, if he did any, since the evidence and the investigations of UPF isn’t representative and the criminal investigations can be turned in favor of the will of the President.

Why I can also question the government, is because the National Equality and Democracy, a liberation party from the diaspora wrote this on the 3rd December 2016: “The red notice meant that the Bubulo county West parliamentary representative Hon Kipoi Tonny Nsubuga would be arrested if found in any of the Interpol member countries. Interpol found that the organisation was being used wrongfully by the regime to pursue its political opponents. The winning of this case is historically a wakeup call and is a sign of injustice that all Ugandans are going through. Innocent Ugandans have been victims of circumstances for years under Museveni Rule. Since 2012 kipoi’s legal team has been battling political cases with Uganda government for an equal society. He emphasized much on Mr [ Museveni ] to do whatever he could in order to assist in restoring democracy, and stop unnecessary constitutional meddling which has lead to political instability in the country. The regime after falling out with him over political differences, he was accused of trying to overthrow the government, Kipoi left to exile in neighbouring DRC. The government continued to pursue him and even sued him under CRB No 1034/2013and secured a red notice 2014/11357 in Lyon France” (NED, 03.12.2016).

So we have the right to question the state, as the facts will not come from this regime, they will play it in their favor, just like they have done with other dissidents. Kipoi is just one of many in line of fire. Museveni isn’t graceful when coming to opponents. Peace.

Letter – Parliament of Uganda Re: Plenary Sittings of Parliament (31.08.2016) – Parliament suspended until 9th September!

UG Parliament 31.08.2016

Besigye campaigns for FDC candidates in Omoro district (Youtube-Clip)

“FDC’s Dr. Kizza Besigye has pitched camp in Omoro district where he is campaigning for the Forum for Democratic Party candidates contesting for the woman parliamentary and District Chairperson seats. Besigye implored locals to fight poverty and disease” (NTV Uganda, 2016)

Statement from Hon. Betty Ocan – on the events leading to campaign violence in Lalogi, Gulu (Released: 24.12.2015)

FDC Convoy Attack 22.12.2015 P1

Tuesday December 22nd, was the day for Uganda’s Presidential Candidate Dr Kizza Besigye to have a campaign rally in Gulu district. To build up to the this, the FDC national campaign team arranged to hold mini rallies in Bobi, Lakwana (Opit), Odek (Acet), Lalogi sub counties and Gulu municipality at the Carribean/ Kauda grounds.

After his successful rallies in Opit and Acet trading centers, Dr Besigye was due to travel to Lalogi. I, Hon Betty Aol Ocan being the area Woman MP and host of my Party President was in the advance team responsible for preparation of his rallies. As such I was always ahead and in Lalogi I arrived before the Besigye Team only to find that the Deputy Speaker Hon Oulanya Jacob was having a rally at our booked venue. He had mobilized his supporters and was physically present talking to a crowd. His parked convoy had one lead Police Vehicle and about 12 armed escorts and a number of “crime preventers” who seem stationed for a purpose at the venue Aketket Primary school ground.

When I arrived, as you may have seen on the NTV news footage on that day, I reached out to engage Hon Oulanya and his team on what was going on in our booked campaign venue. We chatted amicably as we always do in the corridors of parliament and he argued that his rally was prearranged before Besigye. He stated that there was no need for Besigye to interfere and in that case we should leave. I reminded him of our arrangement with the community leaders who agreed with me and we chatted on….

For a reason I am yet to know, many of his supporters started waving sticks and hoes, axes, stones at my team as time passed by. The situation quickly became tense and in the confusion his “security” manhandled me in a failed attempt to get me away. I am sad to note that my hair was pulled and I was physically assaulted which led the gallant youth on my campaign team to protect me from the rowdy melee. All this while, the fracas was being filmed by NTV and NBS news crew who were also present at the venue.

Atiak 23.12.15

Now, as the disturbance escalated, the attention of the rowdy NRM supporters was drawn to the TV crew and their news van which had been well documenting the situation all this while. Their anger was perhaps due to fear of exposure of their conduct. They attacked the crew and journalists were pelted with stones and great damage was caused to their equipment. Villagers started gathering from all over in large numbers despite the security deployment and over powered Hon Oulanya and his supporters. The deputy speaker quietly escaped from the site and his guards fizzled out one by one. This brawl lasted about 35 minutes!

Dr Besigye then later joined us at the venue and we had a clam campaign as scheduled later having a big rally in Gulu town that evening. We have reported the matter at Lalogi Police Station and a case of threatening violence, causing injury and damage has been opened against Hon Oulanya and his campaign team involved. Assault case SD REF:08/22/12/2015.

I later heard the Aswa Region police Spokesperson Jimmy Patrick Okema comment on Mega FM that “the action of the Deputy Speaker at Lalogi was provoked by Hon Betty Aol.” Of course they are trying to cover up the misuse of power and state security by Hon Jacob Olanya and we dismiss such a baseless statement due to lack of substance. We do have the footage of the entire fracas and our people are on the ground in the villages.

Also, you may be aware that the Electoral Commission had suspended ALL parliamentary campaigns and Hon Jacob Oulanya campaigning on that day was in violation of this Electoral Commission directive. His team was shamelessly and unlawfully breaching that directive. Only presidential campaigns were scheduled to go ahead at the time.

Friends, this campaign should not be a matter of Do or Die. People should not take the law into their hands and should respect the election schedule. The youth being used to break the law in the name of “crime preventers and security” will account individually and collectively. If may be they thought fear and intimidation would cow us in to giving up our rights, they are miscalculating big time. We have been in those trenches for a while now. Our team will continue to obey the law and we request other political players and the police to do the same. And intimidation will not get you votes we promise!

Our sincere apologies to the people of Lalogi who were affected by this unfortunate event and unnecessary attention. I have known people in Lalogi as some of the most calm people I have met in my decades of community work in Gulu district. Our biggest regrets to the NTV and NBS crew whose independent work was unduly interfered with and suffered physical attack and property damage. That is not how we do things in Gulu; We will all get justice.

We want to wish every body a happy festive season, let us celebrate in peace, let us refrain from violence in this campaign. Let us spare resources for the next year. Education of our young people should be our focus in the New year. Let us also remember to vote and maintain leaders who will keep our interests on the contentious issue of land and education, livelihood empowerment, social services and culture among others. I love you all very much.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New year. May God Bless you richly next year.

–Betty Aol Ocan, Gulu Woman MP 2016.

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)

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