Retired High Court Judge Galdino Okello Named Chief Legal Advisor In Amuru Land Wrangle

The retired High Court Judge Galdino Okello has been named chief legal advisor to residents protesting land acquisition by Madhvani Group of Companies in Amuru district. 

This follows a meeting by district leaders with President Yoweri Museveni on Monday 15 October 2012 at State House, Nakasero in which the president directed the Attorney General (AG) to begin negotiations with the committee and lawyers representing the evictees.  

The appointment of retired Justice Galdino Okello was revealed during a press briefing held at Florida Hotel on Sunday by leaders and applicants’ party to a court injunction barring activity on the disputed land, which includes former legislators Simon Oyet, Michal Ocula, David Penytoo and the current MP representing People With Disability (PWD) in northern Uganda Hon Nokrach Williams. 

“Yes we entrusted him (Galdino Okello) to play an advisory role in the committee to work together with Counsel Gimara Francis and Oryem Okello who are all members of the committee,” Ochula the former MP for Kilak Sub County in Amuru district told the press. 

They used the press briefing to refute any allegations that they had been promised jobs by the president should the negotiations favour government, acknowledging that even though they are not in conventional employment at the moment, they are not that desperate. 

“I must admit that currently we have no jobs but we are farmers and professionals, if we want jobs we shall apply but not through the president,” Oyet the former MP for Nwoya said. 

The team revealed that their first primary objective is to repeal the court ruling that declared the land at the centre of the dispute, communal rather than customary. 

“Beginning this Monday we shall only discus land ownership not Madhvani issues because the greatest agenda is that people must own their land not district land boards on “behalf of the government”,” Nockrach William added. 

The Minister for Water Hon Betty Bigombe who has been tasked by the president with putting in place a committee that will negotiate with government and Retired Bishop of Kitgum Diocese Macleod Barker Ochola II are among the leaders set to meet the AG at the beginning of the negotiations. 

The president also cautioned that once an agreement can be reached, any dispute and compensation issues are settled out of court.

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