A plan to resettle over 9,800 people of the landless Benet and Ndorobo in Sebei region has suffered a setback over funding gaps. The Office of the Prime Minister had planned to resettle 1500 households next financial year and required 35 billion shillings for the activity.
The Office of the Prime Minister had planned to resettle 1500 households next financial year and required 35 billion shillings for the activity.
Mary Karooro Okurut, the Minister for General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) says the funds have not been reflected in the budget estimates for the financial year 2017/2018 and this means the resettlement can not be done.
The resettlement challenges stem from the 1983 land allocation programme where government provided 6,000 hectares for Mt Elgon National Park. The Ndorobo-Benet were allocated land but a few households missed out on the allocation due to mismanagement of the land distribution.
The population has expanded in the past 30 years and other groups have also emerged and in need to be resettled. From the resettlement activities done so far, there is pressure on the Government to further de-gazette part of Mt Elgon National Park to resettle the landless group.
Now the OPM says it only has an option to purchase land for the houses or repossess and re-distribute the 318 hectares from Kapsekek temporary camp, 201 hectares from Kisito and 2,500 hectares encroachment of Mt Elgon Park.
Karooro says Government is committed to ensuring that the people in Mt Elgon region get land. She was responding to queries raised by members of parliament on the the OPM budget.
Amuria Woman MP Susan Amero, said the Benet need to be relocated to another place and that their land should be titled. She added that the affected people are being evicted by powerful people from the area and there should be a measure to ensure ownership of land by the Benet and Ndorobo.
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The OPM also proposes de-gazetting 3,000 hectares of Mt Elgon National Park to be given to the landless persons.
Fred Mwesigye, the chairperson of the Presidential Affairs committee said government should act and solve the long standing land challenge. He says allegations of senior government officials and leaders acquiring land in the area should be investigated.