Top Nebbi, Pakwach Leaders on Spot for Fuelling Land Conflicts.
- Mr. Omito Robert Steen the LC5 Chairperson of the newly created Pakwach district says there could be some forces behind the pastoralists defiance attitude, which is making them become big headed.
- Pastoralists could be strategically positioning themselves to grab land in Alwi, Pakwach, and Panyimur, areas which are suspected to be containing large deposit of Natural Gas and Oil and in the Albertine graben.
- There could be highly placed government officials behind the pastoralists refusal to vacate these lands.
Questions are already in place as to why Banyankole pastoralists commonly known as “The Balalo” grazing their animals in open grazing areas across Nebbi and Pakwach districts have failed to leave the two districts, despite earlier warnings for them to vacate the areas.
The pastoralists have since 2010 been grazing their Ankole long horned herds of cattle in Panyimur, Alwi, Wadelai, Pakwach and Nyaravur sub counties in the newly created Pakwach and Nebbi districts respectively.
The traditional leaders complained about the cattle keepers, whose animals destroy people’s crops, while others were involved in land grabbing in the areas they operated.
Ofoy Shaban Kinobe, the LC3 Chairperson Panyimur sub county in the newly created Pakwach district says the whole acre of his maize garden was also invaded and destroyed by their cattle, leaving nothing to take home during the first season of 2014.
In May this year, the Nebbi district LC5 Chairperson Esrom Willaim Alenyo ordered all the pastoralists to leave the district following complaints from Alwi, Mbaro, Parombo and Panyango traditional Chiefs in Alur Kingdom.
The directive was to invoke rule 30 of the Standard rules of procedure which permits Council to handle matters of urgency and for public importance.
The decision was reached at during a recent council sitting at Nebbi Community Social Center NECOSOC in Nebbi town.
Despite the earlier warnings, questions are already emerging as to why some of the pastoralists have refused to leave, four months after the directive was issued by the Nebbi district boss.
Mr. Omito Robert Steen the LC5 Chairperson of the newly created Pakwach district says there could be some forces behind the pastoralists defiance attitude, which is making them become big headed.
Though he does not reveal any government officials behind these defiant pastoralists, he thinks there is a big force behind the stubbornness of these pastoralists from vacating their grazing areas.
He also says the pastoralists could be strategically positioning themselves to grab land in Alwi, Pakwach, and Panyimur, areas which are suspected to be containing large deposit of Natural Gas and Oil and in the Albertine graben.
Mr Omito Robert Steen also believes that there could be highly placed government officials behind the pastoralists refusal to vacate these lands.
The Albertine graben in Ugandan rift valley is said to have over 2 billion barrels of crude oil and other petroleum products, which according to government is scheduled for extraction effective 2020, while establishment of an oil refinery in Hoima district in Bunyoro sub region is in the offing.
Reports obtained from a highly placed security source indicates that the office of the Nebbi Resident District Commissioner -RDC has failed to amicably handle land matters, which has created so far a tense security situation in the area, with reports already indicating that dozens of firearms being sold across Nebbi and Pakwach districts.
Early this year, 2 Publications with details illustrating how guns are used were recovered in Alwi Sub County, in the then Nebbi district.
In July this year, two guns and about 60 rounds of live ammunition were also spotted in Omyer village, Kalowang parish in Nebbi Sub County, Nebbi district, an area where the Banyankole pastoralists are suspected to be pitch camping in.
The highly placed security source accuses the then Nebbi RDC Mrs Bessy Ajilong Modesta for receiving bribes to shield the pastoralists whose activities in their areas of operations according to residents has done more harm than good.
The office of the Nebbi RDC however insists that there are no foul plays in handling the matter.
In the meantime, the leader of the Banyankole pastoralists in Nebbi was not readily available for comment by press time.