In an effort to curb escalating land wrangles in the district, residents in Nwoya are being encouraged to embarked on tree planting exercises along land boundaries, an exercise that is hoped will also speed up the recovery process.
She said the seedlings will be given out to poor residents not only to curb land wrangles, but also to alleviate poverty, utilize vacant land and wind break.
Ms Lanyom Josephine welcomed the intiative and said that it will enable her children get employed and find their own school fees.
“We spent three months on the nursery bed to ensure that they grow, we sell and my children will be employment and raise their school fees,” Lanyom said.
Nwoya district Chairman Mr Patrick Okello Oryema commended Ms Adong for initiating a project that fits within the priorities of the local government development plan.
Oryema said that the oil find in the district was a blessing which will soon turn into a curse judging by the level of interest “certain entities are striving to attain land in the area,” at the expense of the residents.
“Everybody is focusing in on Nwoya because of productive land and they wants to acquire land in a wrong way and we also see government land certification; tree planting will add advantage against disputes” Oryema said.
The tree planting initiative launched in Anaka town council in Nwoya district on Wednesday.
Oryema said some sub-counties that are not blessed with forests would be prioritised for seedlings to boost their environmental conservation.
“This project will boost team spirit where one learns from another how to solve disputes because no one will say you have planted trees on my land or encroached on my land” he said.
Oryema said the planters will be guided on how to plant eucalyptus on rocky grounds due to its disadvantages on water tables.
The seedlings will be handed to farmers on credit, according to the Woman MP Lilly Adong. Those who successfully grow the trees, will not pay the cost of the seedlings, Adong said.
“Every ordinary person will get 300 seedlings and when you plant well, I will waiver the credit” she told the farmers.
She said that schools would be given the trees to serve as wind breaks, also for income and use on vacant land in villages.
Cases of land disputes in Nwoya district have reach close to 231 according to district Local government report, while close to 200 are current open cases with the police majorly over land inheritance and ignorance of the land regulations.
Land in northern Uganda is held under customary tenure. The government says that the lack of official land ownership documents is one of the reasons why there is escalating land conflicts and that people fear losing their land.
So it is currently issuing customary ownership certificates in parts of the region; but from the very beginning, this has drawn mixed reactions.
“It might address our land disputes as long as the certificate is properly executed. It could be a mitigating measure to the land issue in the region,” said Okoya Lameck in Luliango village.
Critiques say statutory and customary land laws contain ambiguities and earlier laws, gave landowners 12 or more years’ occupancy to legitimize rights over the land.
However, some powerful individuals claimed legitimate rights over some communal land during the civil war.
Meanwhile Acholi Chiefs have asked government to stop issuing the certificates of customary tenure because it will be a recipe to bloodshed.
Rwot William Lugai, the deputy paramount Chief of Acholi wants the Land Act translated into local languages for easy understanding and application.
Major land disputes in Acholi are related to poverty, widow inheritance and ignorance of existing land legislation.
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