Almost everywhere one looks today in Uganda, there are cases of land evictions which has left millions of poverty stricken people landless. As in Acholi, the rush for land is fuelled by corruption, greed and poor leadership.
In the recent land wrangle with the residents of Pabbo, Olanya has accused the UPDF of offering Shs20,000 bribes to councillors in order to fence off 69,000 square kilometers of land claiming it to be “part of land that has been cultivated by the army since 1983.”
Olanya said that having investigated the matter, he has established that a number of councillors were bought into passing a dubious resolution to lease land to UPDF the land to the army.
“I have instructed Mr Komakech Comboni, the Pabbo sub county chief to give the list of all the councillors who have allegedly been reported to have got shs20,000 to past sub county resolution to allow the UPDF to acquire the land,” he said.
“I want Pabbo sub county councillors to resign to give way for investigations of selling land belonging to Pabbo community,” Olanya added.
Olanya said that he was shocked by the allegations that even Mr Christopher Ojera, the LC3 Chairman of Pabbo also participated in the secret meeting with Lt. Col. Obwona Pascal from the “Chieftaincy of Production team in the UPDF” from Mbuya Military barrack, who is spearheading the land acquisition.
Two weeks ago Olanya and other officials from Pabbo removed a fence planted by UPDF soldiers when partitioning the land. The irate residents wanted to lynch Lt. Col. Obwona who claimed that the said land in Pabbo “was given to former UNLA soldiers in 1983 as army production farm.”
Lt. Col. Obwona said that in 1986 when the NRA (now UPDF) took over from the UNLA led government, he was the army production farm manager on the said land.
He said that the community illegally settled on the land due to the war and the issue is coming up now because of the media hysteria surrounding the Madhvani land conflict.
“This farm is army production farm; the community gave it long time back,” Lt Col Obwona said.
Mr. David Akol the former FDC parliamentary candidate for Kilak County agreed that Pabbo army production farm was given way back in 1983 to the then UNLA soldiers.
However, the current problem started because the UPDF has extended the land boundary, “Pabbo Army production farm was not as big as the UPDF now claim it to be,” Akol said.
Mr Ochan Pyero Paul an activist on land issues in Gulu who also a strong advocate against giving land to investors like Madhvani, revealed that it is true some Pabbo councillors were offered paltry Shs20,000.
“If councillors from Pabbo Sub County are bought with Shs20,000 only, it shows that poverty has really deepened amongst the population,” Ochan said.
Olanya warned UPDF soldiers and the Uganda government that since they have used dubious means to acquire a fake land title for the land at the centre of the dispute; that land title will remain in paper.
“I want to tell UPDF soldiers and Uganda government that my people in Amuru district and Acholi community will used all possible means to defend their land, with weapon like pangas, bows and arrows, we have to protect our land,” Olanya said.
He revealed that when he recently visited the Ministry of Land in Kampala, he was approached by a worker whom he could not name because of the sensitivity of the matter, who told him that the government has already acquired land title for the said land.
Olanya made the statement while addressing the press from Motana Hotel in Gulu last week and said that over 1000 families are affected by the land acquision by the army. Two weeks ago, a group of youths from area removed all the mark stone that was planted by the army and tore down the fence that had been erected to protect the land. By A Web design Company
By A Web design Company