Former legislators Michael Ocula and David Openy Penytoo were caught up in skirmishes in Kololo on Saturday when they were accused by local residents of receiving millions of shillings from State House in exchange for the land desired by the Madhivani group of companies.
The two legislators are part of a group that jointly filed a case with two elders; Zacheos Uma and Jack Obalim, in 2008 asking court to restrain Amuru Sugar Works, a project by Madhvani, from being established on the land.
The current member for Kilak County Hon Gilbert Olanya who made a surprise visit during the consultation, after completing a hot radio talk show on Mega Fm on Amuru land opened a can of worms when he publicly told residents that many leaders from Amuru district had been given millions of shillings by State House in the name of convincing them to give away their ancestral land. He displayed money which he said was given to him in bribe as part of the project to win leaders over Amuru land.
“I want to confess to you that even me when I was in Kampala, they gave me shs500,000 shillings bribe that it was for my fuel here, but parliament pays me to visit my constituency and am giving this money as evidence here before you to develop Kololo, Ibanda and Lakang P7 school which is grass thatched and has not even a single chalk,” Olanya said while giving out the money to the head teacher of the named school.
“I want to warn you before this people that next time leave me out of your State House dubious negotiation teams budget deals,” Olanya challenged Ocula and Penytoo, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Nokrach William, the MP for disability who is also said to be the administrator of the Amuru negotiation team headed by Betty Bigombe, who was also in attendance came out by himself to say that he was the one who gave the money to Olanya.
“You people, it is me who gave Gilbert the shs500,000 shillings just to facilitate him to come here but not as bribe, how I can bribe a bright MP like this just for that amount, Olanya my uncle you should also know that nephews curse uncles sometime,” he said in an attempt to calm the residents who had become rowdy.
He added that, it was the negotiation team leader Hon Betty Bigombe who is also the Minister for Water; who gave them the money as people in the team normally complain of lack of fuel, food among other things.
Bigombe who also attended the meeting described the statement “as unfortunate for Amuru people” since every attempt to bring development to the people of AMuru was being politicised by inciting local residents. She confirmed that she had distributed the money and said that Olanya had also taken such facilitation before though wondered what had become of him this time.
As the leaders left, a group of youths in Lakang blocked the main road coming from Kololo in an attempt to deny the vehicles belonging to Bigombe and the other legislators from travelling to Gulu.
Bigombe’s escort “were forced to fire live bullets in the air” sending the youths running for cover and allowing the minister and her entourage to continue with their journey.
MP Olanya’s secretary identified as Vicky Aloyo was left with a minor injury on her leg and journalists’ cameras destroyed as a result of the skirmish.