Tension is mounting in Sembabule district over a ranch on which more than 1,000 heads of cattle graze.
Ranch 36, on which the animals have been grazing has been transformed into a stormy center of conflict between the ranch owner and the herdsmen.
The Ranch has been the main source of water and pastures for the pastoralists in
Mitima Parish, Lugusula, sub-county, in Sembabule district. The Ranch comprised of valley dams, belongs to Michael Mulindwa, a prominent farmer in Sembabule district. Relations between Mulindwa and the pastoralists have lately turned sour for unexplained circumstances.
But during a meeting held over the weekend, councilors resolved that the pastoralists and their animals be blocked from grazing in the ranch. The councilors say that the ranch owner has been irked by the indiscipline exhibited by the pastoralists. They say that then pastoralists have often times vandalized the ranch and also brought in strangers to graze on the ranch without the owners consent.
Mulindwa says that he has lost more than 1,000 goats to the squatters who forcefully gained entry onto his ranch and decided to settle there.
David Keizoba, the Mitima LC1 Defense Secretary, says the councilors have petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Major General Kale Kayihura, to help evict the squatters because the situation is becoming tense.
But some pastoralists are not happy about the trend of events.
Steven Karekyezi, one of the herdsmen said that the herdsmen will not leave the ranch because the valley dams from which the animals drink water are located on public land.
Sserwano Kabogorwa, The Sembabule RDC, had earlier asked the herdsmen to leave the ranch voluntarily to avoid trouble.
Ovulu Binega, The Sembabule district Police Commander. On the other hand has advised Mulindwa to fence off the ranch.