Clan Chiefs under the auspices of Ker Kal Kwaro Acholi (Acholi chiefdom) have accused officials from Acholi War Debts Claimants Associations of turning the association into a land grabbing venture.
The clan chief of Purongo, Rwot Jimmy Ochan Luwala, warned the Association’s Chairman, Mr. Noah Opwanya, to stop the agitation to survey land that belongs to the Acholi War Debt Claimants Association. He also called on communities to spear him should he persist.
Rwot Luwala wonders how an association formed to seek compensation on behalf of war victims, now begins to talk of surveying land.
“If Uganda government does not want to pay the animals it looted from us during the insurgency, they should not try to grab our land under the disguise of the association formed to help victims,” Rwot Luwala warned.
Opwonya said that “the government has released shs200 million to finish the association’s verification exercise as you know late last year 2011, the government monitoring teams including government valuers were moving around to ascertain the numbers of livestock owners.”
He said that the verification teams did not finish their work due to lack of funds and because they needed to survey even the land of those who claimed that UPDF soldiers have been encroaching upon it or have evicted them.
“Uganda government has released shs.5 billion for compensation of animals lost during the insurgency; the money is with our lawyer, what we want now is to finish the work.” Opwonya said.
He added that during the verification exercise, his team collected over 30,000 names of war debt claimants from the entire sub-region. The next step is to check the numbers of animals and approve payment.
One of the chiefs, who spoke to Acholi Times on condition of anonymity, questioned the motive behind the government’s use of Opwonya and his association to survey land in Acholi.
“We want Mr. Opwonya to come clear, if government is reluctant to pay, let them be,” he said.
The Chairman for the Democratic Party in Gulu district Mr. Kerobino Uma said that his party will soon summon Opwanya to explain in detail the statement he made over the radio.
“As an Acholi elder and DP chairman I want to tell Mr. Opwonya that he does not have the mandate to survey our land, not even Uganda government, that act is tantamount to land grabbing,” Uma said.
The former chairman of Acholi War Debt Claimants Association, Mr. Nyeko Kerobino. when contacted for comments said that Opwonya’s interest is self aggrandisement and not the victims he represents.
Nyeko added that if the government, which raided over a million cattle from Acholiland, now wants to survey land, then it means that they want to grab it because you don’t survey land unless you want something done to it.
“Who said Acholi wanted their land to be surveyed, under Acholi Ker Kal Kwaro customary land system we prefer our land under customary law.” Mr. Nyeko said. By A Web design Company
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