Government Decisions Hurting Acholi people, Oulanyah Tells Museveni

Deputy Speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah(left) speaks to President Museveni (right)

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament has told President Museveni that some government decisions are causing bitterness in the Acholi Sub-region.

Mr Oulanyah told the president on Saturday that a recent decision undertaken by government has left people in the region in a sombre mood.

The Deputy Speaker made the statement at Opit Secondary School playground in Opit Sub County, Omoro district were the president presided over the thanksgiving ceremony for the District Woman MP Catherine Lamwaka upon her 2016 parliamentary election victory.

“Your excellency, this part of the country is in a fairly sombre mood, there is some murmur and discussions that are not good and going on at the moment. I will not go into details but when I meet you I will tell you,’’ Oulanyah said.

“The problem is sometimes we[government] have good things to do and we must do it. But we do them so badly that they start looking bad themselves yet they are good things. I will discuss this with you in details and take your advice on how we can win this,” Mr Oulanya told the president.

Mr Oulanyah didn’t specifically point out the government action causing resentment among the people in Acholi. However, a recent government’s decision to evict people out of the disputed land in Apaa claimed by both Adjumani and Amuru district has left Acholi leaders fuming in anger.

The President did not respond to Oulanyah’s statement but accepted to meet with the Deputy Speaker.

Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda on Thursday last week informed leaders from Acholi and Adjumani in a meeting at his office that government’s stand had not changed following a Cabinet directive early this year to have people occupying the land in Apaa to vacate.

Dr Rugunda told the leaders at the meeting that several meetings between the two groups held last year in Gulu District failed to yield any common position and as a result, Cabinet chaired by President Museveni had made a final decision.

Rugunda said Cabinet had directed that all people occupying East Madi Game Reserve (Apaa) should vacate and that Apaa Market be closed by March.

Rugunda further revealed that those who are settled in the East Madi Game Reserve and have National Identification Cards between 2013 and 2014 as residents of Apaa will be supported with 10 million shilling, 20 bags of cement and 20 iron sheets to enable them acquire land elsewhere.

Cabinet, according to Rugunda also directed that those in Apaa without National IDs will be given million per family to relocate.

Relief food will also be provided to the affected families who will be asked to vacate within 12 months.

Last month, a section of locals who are settled on the disputed Apaa land told a six member select committee from parliament tasked to investigate the dispute that they will not accept any form of compensation over the land from government.

The locals instead advised government to degazette the East Madi Wildlife Reserve so that they continue settling on their land.

The latest government decision comes at a time the outcome of investigation conducted by a parliamentary committee selected by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has not yet been released.

Ms Agnes Ameede, the committee Chairperson last month told journalists at a briefing in Amuru district that it would be prudent for government to stop any form of eviction until the ownership of the land is established.

Since 2012, Apaa has been a hotbed of violent clashes between the Acholi and Madi people with each claiming ownership of the strip of fertile piece of land that is estimated to be around 827sq Km. Government however claims the disputed land is part of the protected East Madi Wildlife Reserve located in Adjumani and was gazetted by Parliament in 2002.