Uganda’s constitution stipulates that “all land in Uganda shall vest in the citizens of Uganda and shall be owned in accordance with the following land tenure systems: customary, freehold, mailo and leasehold” (Republic of Uganda, 1998: 4985).
The customary land tenure is being threatened by the draft Land Policy currently being scrutinized by government, primary because parliament chose to pass amendments to the Land Act, without having considered the policy which was introduced later. Equally, the population has not been widely consulted.
In Acholiland, the wave of land evictions and conflicts/wrangles has reached a fever pitched high.
The area Member of Parliament for Nwoya district Hon Richard Todwong says that he is considering land re-distribution in Nwoya district as a way of stopping land evictions which is currently widespread in Nwoya district.
Speaking to residents of Latooro parish in Purongo Sub County where over 200 households are being threatened with eviction, Todwong noted that he is consulting stakeholders on how best a strategy can be developed on land re-distribution so that people are not left at cross roads, where they do not have land to settle upon.
“For how long are we going to see our people landless in their own land?” He asked adding that, “eviction threats have affected the productivity of the people as most of the time the land in question is out of use until matters are resolved,” Todwong said.
“Greedy people who cannot even make the use of land are pushing thevulnerable communities off their ancestral land but as leaders, weshall not watch our people being pushed to streets with the so called land owners, the majority whom; their land lease offers expired,” he added.
“If land redistribution is put in place, at least each household will be entitled to 20-30 acres, so that each person is catered for,” Todwong said.
Todwong cautioned local leaders against accepting bribes and appending signatures on false documents that pave way for their people to lose their ancestral land.
However, the LCV Chairperson for Nwoya district Mr Patrick Okello Oryemas aid that the re-distribution that is being urged by Todwong is flawed and will not happen because “land in the district belongs to clans and any vacant land in the district is for the district land board to decide not Todwong.”
Adding further that: “People have lost traditional morals and bearings, thereby evicting people any how for their own benefit. As a district, we shall not allow any body to
evict our people out of their land,” Oryem said.
The land at the centre of dispute in Purongo sub county, Latooro parish is about 1,200
hectares and stretches up to the River Nile.
Communities in Nwoya district accuse Acholi chiefdom and formal courts of fuelling land conflicts in Acholi sub region. At the moment the district reconciliation peace team are on the ground to assess the situation.
In Koch goma Sub County close to 1,000 household are threatened with eviction in the parishes of Kochkalanga and Kochamar.
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