Leaders Want Museveni to Address Land Disputes During Tour of Acholi

Leaders in Acholi Sub-region have asked President Yoweri Museveni to use his tour of the region to address the current rampant cases of land disputes and poverty that have stagnated the development of the region.

President Museveni is scheduled to visit the region on Thursday where he will be meeting key party members, leaders, and local government department heads from the region. He will later crown the tour with a rally at Kaunda Playgrounds in Gulu City on Friday.

The President’s visit however comes amidst an uproar from locals and leaders in the region against the latest government’s decision to evict occupants of Apaa land, a contentious area bordering Amuru and Adjumani districts.

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja on Wednesday last week announced that the settlers who are illegally occupying parts of Zoka Forest Reserve have until May 16 to vacate or be kicked out using force.

The Kilak North Member of Parliament Anthony Akol who also doubles as the Chairperson of Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) says the President’s visit to the region should not be partisan but rather help address pending problems in the Acholi Sub-region.

Akol notes that data from the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics (UNBS) indicates the region is lagging behind in terms of development, education, and health which has seen weakened livelihood progress. He says the situation is being worsened by the already growing threat on land which is a key factor of production for propelling the region to prosperity.

According to Akol, several promises made by the President in the past including compensating for cattle looted in past insurgencies haven’t been fulfilled, and expects his visit to make proper clarification.

The Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya also reiterated that the key issue to be addressed in the region is land that is being forcefully grabbed by government enterprises under the pretext of development.

Olanya says he expects the President to address the current land conflicts surrounding land in Apaa between Amuru and Adjumani, and Aswa Ranch in Pader District.

He also notes that the region still faces challenges in health service delivery which needs to be addressed through the establishment of health facilities in each of the Sub counties.

According to the Uganda National Household Survey report 2019/20, income poverty worsened in the sub-regions of Acholi from 35 percent to 67.7 percent.

The increment however raises concern about the effectiveness of the several livelihood programs implemented by government and non-state actors in these sub-regions.

The National Resistant Movement (NRM) party Chairperson for Gulu District James Ocen says President Museveni’s visit is a blessing for the region since he will be reechoing his message of wealth creation and prosperity.

He notes that the tour is also a good opportunity for the local leaders to directly tell the President their grievances and areas of concern for redress which would have not been easily done through letters.

“The President’s visit is good because he will hear direct concerns of the people in the region and get to interact with them face to face. We believe the visit will help in solving many problems the area is witnessing,” Ocen said.

Ocen was however quick to dismiss claims that the tour is partisan and will majorly focus on canvassing support for the President’s bid for reelection.

Early this month, a section of legislators from the Acholi Sub-region and the Acholi Cultural Institution dragged the government to court over the illegal extension of the boundaries of Aswa Ranch which covers a total of 105.400 acres.

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