Tension As Gov`t Seeks to Allocate Land to Former NRM MPs

Tension is mounting in Laguti Sub County, Pader district, due to a government decision to allocate over 12 square miles of land to former Members of Parliament.

The allocation, facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC & DB), and Uganda Land Commission, aims to support the former legislators’ livelihoods through commercial agriculture.

The beneficiaries are former Members of Parliament affiliated with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, under their umbrella Gravity Grain Farmers, based in Kampala City.

Their plan is to invest in grain production in Laguti Sub County, with Engineer Yorokamu Katwiremu Bategana, a former Sheema County South Member of Parliament, leading the group.

Accompanied by Pader security officials, the former MPs inspected the land in Lakalanganya Village, Tumalyec Parish, Laguti Sub County, Pader district last week.

However, the ownership of the land is disputed, as members of the community claim it as their own, while the government maintains it is part of the Aswa Ranch, utilized for agriculture and food security by NAGRC and Uganda Prisons Services.

A meeting was held two weeks ago with the Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Lt. Col (Rtd) Bright Rwamirama, and the Executive Director for NAGRC to discuss the leasehold agreement with the government for grain production.

Eng. Yorokamu confirmed this in a phone interview, mentioning that the Uganda Land Commission will survey the land to establish its true ownership, facing resistance from community members.

Robert Okumu, the Laguti Sub County LC III Chairperson, expressed concern, suspecting the government’s intention to grab land belonging to the community. He questioned the deployment of soldiers and inspections without involving local leaders or informing community members.

Following the community’s discontent, they petitioned Bosco Odoch Olak, the Presidential Coordinator for the Northern Region, seeking the President’s intervention.

Odoch assured the residents that a survey team would be dispatched to demystify the boundary conflict, and security measures would be enhanced.

Samuel Odonga Otto, the former Aruu County legislator, and lawyer, urged the government to respect the law and adhere to agreements made during the land’s initial allocation in the 1980s.

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