Lango MPs to Meet Acholi Leaders Over Apaa Land

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In short
A delegation of Members of Parliament from Lango Sub region are set to travel to Gulu to meet with Acholi leaders to defuse the tribal tension created by the ongoing land-related conflict in Apaa, Amuru district.

A delegation of Members of Parliament from Lango Sub region are set to travel to Gulu to meet with Acholi leaders to defuse the tribal tension created by the ongoing land-related conflict in Apaa, Amuru district.
 
Felix Okot Ogong, the Chairman Lango Parliamentary Group, says there is tension between the two tribes as a result of the actions Lands Minister Betty Amongi on the contested Apaa land.
 
Ogong says the development came up from the time Amongi reportedly said government would use force to demarcate and hand over the contested piece of land to Madhvani Group of Companies for sugar cane growing. Amongi claims already a total of 101 land owners have agreed to give their land to Madhvani but that some politicians were inciting residents against the move.
 
Last week Minister Amongi, who had deployed several UPDF soldiers and police personnel on the contested land, met resistance from the local leaders and the land owners when she went to supervise demarcation of the said land.
 
Residents barricaded the road to the area and fire set in the middle of the road while some women stripped themselves naked to protest to the planned forceful demarcation of their land. Minister Amongi retreated only to return on Monday to embark on the demarcation exercise.
 
However since then, Okot Ogong says the Acholi leaders and locals are pointing accusing fingers at the Lango who they claim are grabbing their land. Amongi is also the Member of Parliament for Oyam South in Oyam district in Lango sub region.
 
A week ago, some residents of Myene sub county that borders Amuru and Nwoya districts told URN they were receiving threats from some people in Amuru asking them not to do farming on their land.
 
Willy Odongo, one of them claims that the residents from Nwoya and Amuru were telling them that their daughter Betty Amongi was conniving with government to grab Acholi land and give it away to Madhvani.
 
Odongo said many residents who do farming in Nwoya and Amuru districts are now living in fear
 
Odonga Otto, the Aruu South Member of Parliament, who has been at the forefront to resist the Apaa land takeaway, last week wrote on his Facebook wall that Amongi should take Madvhani on her land in Lango if she is so much interested in giving the company land for sugarcane growing.
 
In an interview with Uganda Radio Network, Okot Ogong however said such tribal sentiments are not necessary. He argues that Amongi is executing the assignment given to her by President Museveni as Lands Minister and, therefore, Lango as a tribe should not be associated with her actions and misdeeds.
 
Ogong said Lango is also bitter with Amongi over her actions on the contested land in Amuru and that as leaders from the sub region they stand with the Acholi to resist such forceful takeaway of land by government.
 
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Ogong said he will lead a team of MPs from Lango to meet local, religious, cultural and political leaders in Acholi and table their position on this matter. He said as Lango Parliamentary Group, they will also summon Amongi and talk to her about the danger she is causing to Langi because of her actions.
 
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Uganda Radio Network has learnt that a team of lawyers representing owners of the contested land in Amuru, and cultural and religious leaders from Acholi have today travelled to State House Entebbe to meet with the President over the matter.

Mistrust between the Acholi and Lango is not new. In the early 1980s, it was mistrust between officers from the two tribes that led to the July 1985 military coup. The coup was engineered by two Acholi officers, army commander General Tito Okello and Brigadier (later Lieutenant General) Bazilio Olara Okello, who was at the time commanding the Northern Brigade.

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.