The Democratic Party President Mr Norbert Mao has said that he supports the proposal by the Madhivani Group of companies to establish a sugar complex in Amuru district and that big investors must be welcomed in Gulu or Acholi as a whole.
“We are not opposed to investment in Acholi, including the Madhivani project to build to a sugar factory in Amuru; I am in complete support of the Madhivani project but I want the land used for planting the sugar canes to remain in the hands of its owners while Madhivani acquires the factory site, so that the land owners are the ones to sell sugar cane to Madhivani; Mao said.
Mao who was speaking to crowd at Kaunda grounds in Gulu said that the northern region is enjoying a semblance of peace and people have returned to their villages from the camps, there are also people who fled their homes and went into exile abroad who are now returning to their land; so if Madhivani wants to go back together with the returnees, they are welcome to do just that and build their Sugar factory, but they must follow due process and negotiate with the land owners, land he said must remain in the hands of its owners.
He said that the problem investors normally have is trying to acquire land through the back door, leaving out the land owners. Others he said, use the security agents to evict people from their land, all will not be tolerated.
“I want to repeat to you openly that I am not opposed to investors coming to Gulu or in Acholi, but I want them to come here through due process and under the law. I also not opposed to the Madhivani sugar factory because many people in northern Uganda need the sugar, so I want a small chunk of land to be given to Madhivani upon which they can build the factory, but the land that cultivates the sugar canes must remain in the hands of the owners,” Mao concluded.
One of the biggest and most controversial proposed investment plans has been the Madhivani Group which aims to acquire 40,000 hectares of land in Amuru district. In early 2007, state house granted the group the 40,000 hectares and later approved another 20,000, however there is currently a court injunction against the plan that was submitted by those who would be evicted and their leaders, although many people believe that the acquisition of the 60,000 hectares of land in Acholi is inevitable and that the president, according to impeccable sources assured Madhivani that it is just a matter of time.
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