A team of soldiers and police have been deployed to Munkunyu sub-county in Kasese district following land clashes there that left one person dead.
Felix Ebong, the Kasese District Police Commander, says Milton Baluku who was a resident of Rwehingo village was stabbed to death in the second day of renewed clashes between a group of cultivators and newly relocated pastoralists. He says the clashes between the Bakonzo cultivators and Basongora pastoralists resulted from a refusal by some of the cultivators to leave the area in order to make room for the resettled pastoralists.
Rwehingo village is part of a large swathe of land identified by Government for the resettlement of more than 10,000 Basongora pastoralists who were deported from the Democratic Republic of Congo two years ago. The Basongora, who initially fled Uganda at the height of a rebel war fought by the Allied Democratic Forces, returned home to find their land occupied. They moved into the Queen Elizabeth National Park with large herds of cattle and goats and were relocated late last year to protect the wildlife sanctuary.
The relocation of the Basongora into areas occupied by the Bakonzo cultivators hasn't gone down well. The cultivators claim that by moving them from the land, government is taking from them the source of their livelihood.
However Government stuck to its guns and demanded that the cultivators vacate the land by the end of this month. The pastoralists, unhappy with the pace of the relocation, reportedly took their cattle to graze in the shambas of the cultivators, sparking off this week's clashes. One of the cultivators was stabbed in the head and the stomach and he died of his wounds at Bwera Hospital.
District leaders in Kasese have said the clashes are indicative of a problem within the National Resistance Movement structures in the area.
Speaking at a parliamentary meeting on the Millennium Development Goals at the Rukoko district headquarters, the LC5 chairperson, Julius Kithahenda, said Cabinet refused to consider the recommendations of the NRM district team on the relocation of the Basongora. He said that in the end an already existing problem was replaced by another problem.
Kithahenda warned that unless the challenge of the resettlement of the Basongora is sorted out, the NRM will risk loosing vital support in Kasese.
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Elijah Kyetunda, the Busongora North Member of Parliament, said it is unfortunate that the views of the NRM team in Kasese are consistently ignored. Recalling the wedding of the leader of the Rwenzururu, Mumbere Iremangoma, Kyetunda said it was embarrassing that the most senior NRM official