Speaking on behalf of the MPs, the Pian MP, Remigio Achia, MPs lamented that most of the land in the region has been taken away due to greed by elites who are natives of the land. He noted that the elites have exploited the ignorance of the community that is aggravated by high illiteracy levels.
The MPs aired their concerns at the function to mark the end of Land Awareness Week in Moroto on Friday.
Speaking on behalf of the MPs, the Pian MP, Remigio Achia, MPs lamented that most of the land in the region has been taken away due to greed by elites who are natives of the land.
He noted that the elites have exploited the ignorance of the community that is aggravated by high illiteracy levels. In some places, elders are invited for a meeting where their thumbprints are collected in form of sitting allowance which is later turned into land sale. Achia explains that the elites are very aggressive and can take any risks to get land.
Citing a council resolution in Napak that prohibited anyone from buying more than 200 hectares of land, Achia noted that the very sons of the soil bribed some council members to quash the resolution, something he notes has put land and lives of the common people at stake.
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The MPs also observed that mining investors have turned into land grabbing with the help of security forces especially the police and the army. Achia revealed that most of the mining companies in Karamoja have acquired chunks of land, its transactions are conducted in Kampala and the land is later surveyed with protection of forces, sometimes at night.
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The State Minister for Lands, Persis Namuganza warned security forces from aiding land grabbing in Karamoja. She ordered all the RDCs in the region to compile cases of land grabbing including those with titles to be forwarded to lands ministry for screening.
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About 64% of land in Karamoja is covered, according to reports from Karamoja Development Forum. Government has gazzetted 40.8 percent of land under Wildlife protection, 12.5 percent for forestry conservation and has given mining concessions on 24.8 percent of the land as of 2010, according to a 2013 report by Associates Research Trust-Uganda.
There are several cases of land grabbing, some of which are in courts of law and others in different engagements with government and partners.
They include the famous Kautakou land located at Nadunget, Tororo Cement in Tapac Sub County, Rupa with Ateker Cement, Nadunget land for UDC, among others in Moroto district.