Residents Boo Prime Minister Over Amuru Eviction Notice

There was a commotion at Otwee Multi-Purpose Hall in Otwee Town Council, Amuru district on Wednesday when angry residents booed the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja over threats of eviction. 

The other officials included the third Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister Without Portfolio, Lukia Isanga Nakadama, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Norbert Mao, Security Minister Jim Muhwezi, Local Government Minister, Raphael Magezi, and State Minister for Northern Uganda, Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny among others. 

All was going on well until Nabbanja told the residents of Apaa Township and Amuru district officials that the Cabinet had resolved that all occupants of Apaa Township voluntarily leave by May 15th, 2023, or risk forceful eviction. 

The prime Minister noted that the cabinet had resolved to compensate each of the affected people with national identity cards Shillings 10 million in addition to twenty iron sheets, and twenty bags of cement while those without national identification cards would receive Shillings 2 million. She noted that the government had set aside Shillings 2.5 billion for the exercise, which would kick off immediately and run for three months.   

She also directed the Ministry of Local Government to stop the operation of the Apaa Market within a month. 

The exercise according to Nabbanja was meant to protect and preserve the environment as well as the wildlife noting that similar evictions took place in Kyenjojo, Mount Elgon, Queen Elizabeth, and Lake Mburo. No sooner had the Prime Minister completed her statement than the Kilak North Member of Parliament, Anthony Akol interrupted and ordered her to sit down and leave Amuru district immediately.  

He was joined by Kilak South counterpart,  Gilbert Olanya and the area woman member of parliament, Lucy Akello, and LC V chairperson, Michael Lakony.

Angry residents booed down the Prime minister as they charged toward her forcing security to evacuate her and other officials from the meeting venue. The commotion, which lasted more than twenty minutes attracted the attention of heavily armed police, and soldiers among others who rushed to rescue the officials from the angry mob.    

The soldiers and police led the officials to their waiting cars as some of the residents hurled bottles while some women removed their blouses while threatening to strip naked. The officials later board two waiting helicopters at Otwee Public Primary School grounds, which was about half a kilometer away from the meeting venue.    

Earlier before the Prime Minister arrived for the meeting the residents through the area MPs had asked the government officials to address human rights abuses in the area, unconditionally release those arrested arbitrarily, remove illegal roadblocks in Apaa, degazette the area for human settlement, and make Apaa an autonomous area under the Central government until when the conflicts are resolved.     

URN established that the Prime Minister had earlier met with a delegation of Madi from Adjumani district who agreed to all her pronouncement. Alfred Okwonga, the Apaa Local Chairperson, and Amuru district LC V chairperson, Michael Lakony said that the people of Apaa have since 2006 been living in fear and slavery due to the persistent conflicts in the area. The ownership of Apaa Township measuring approximately 47 square miles is under contention pitying the Madi of Adjumani against the Acholi of Amuru district.

Government agencies including Uganda Wildlife Authorities (UWA) and National Forestry Authority (NFA) also claim that the area lies within their reserves.         

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