Districts, Inequality Fueling Clashes in Rwenzori- Report

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In short
The committee observes that an escalation in the struggle for the ownership and acquisition of land in the Rwenzori sub-region coupled with a resultant competitive variation in socio- economic activities amongst the various ethnic groups in the sub-region has fueled unending clashes among individuals and communities.

 The endless creation of Districts, Income Disparities and unresolved land issues are the core sparks of clashes in Rwenzori region, a report by the Defense committee of Parliament states.  
 
The report represents findings of yearlong investigations prompted by concerns raised by Busongora County North MP William Nzoghu in regard to the security of the people of the Rwenzori region and the Rwenzururu Kingdom in particular. It followed a fracas between the Bakonzo and the Bamba during the celebrations to mark 50 years of obusinga bwa Rwenzururu.

It’s however released two weeks after another unpleasant attack on security installations in the districts of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko in what government maintains were tribal clashes. The attacks claimed 90 lives.

The committee observes that an escalation in the struggle for the ownership and acquisition of land in the Rwenzori sub-region coupled with a resultant competitive variation in socio- economic activities amongst the various ethnic groups in the sub-region has fueled unending clashes among individuals and communities.

It established that about two thirds of the geographical area of Kasese district is a gazetted National Game Park, Mountain Rwenzori or water bodies and several other government institutions hence leaving about one third of the land available for agriculture and other livelihoods.

The available one third of productive land is occupied today by over 750,000 people squeezed in an area of about 1,000 square kilometers and within this area there are cultivators, nomadic herdsmen and traders competing for this inelastic space, the report further reads.

Meanwhile, the Committee states that the creation of Ntoroko District was largely perceived as demarcating geographical territory for the Batuku, Bundibugyo for the Bamba-Babwisi, while in Kasese, the Basongora and other ethnic groups continue to demand for districts of their own.

It notes that the demarcation of districts along ethno-tribal dichotomy is likely to fracture social relations in the Rwenzori sub region.

The Committee now recommends in its draft report for a Constitutional clarity in the definition of traditional leaders and kings. It cites that Chapter 16 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda makes mention of traditional or cultural leaders and kings yet these are intrinsically different.
 

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.