Project. An irrigation scheme in northern Uganda. Residents of Atiak Sub-county in Amuru District have rejected a Shs70b irrigation system, claiming it is a ploy to grab their land. FILE PHOTO
A project undertaken by the government to build a Shs70b irrigation system in Atiak Sub-county in Amuru District, has hit a deadlock after residents labelled the development, a systematic approach to grab their land.
During this year’s State of the Nation Address, President Museveni disclosed that the feasibility studies for the Amuru-Pabbo irrigation scheme were complete.
He said the scheme is expected to boost the agricultural sector for increased productivity.
The project, which is being undertaken by the Ministry of Water and Environment, is meant to sit on a seven sq km chunk of land covering at least 2,000 hectares located on River Unyama between Pawel Kal, Palukere and Pupwonya parishes in Atika Sub-county.
The project relevance
The Water and Environment ministry, in a statement said the project will improve farm income, rural livelihoods, food security and climate resilience through sustainable natural resources management and agricultural enterprise development.
However, land owners in the demarcated area have since declined to offer their land for fear of it being grabbed by the government.
The land owners also argue that similar government ventures elsewhere like Agoro Irrigation Scheme in Lamwo District have not had any impact on the agricultural productivity.
Taking 75 community representatives for a visit to Agoro Irrigation Scheme in Lamwo District two weeks ago, following months of negotiations, could not convince the landowners to offer their land.
Mr Charles Okeny, a resident of Pawel Kal Village, told Daily Monitor that the visit to Agoro Irrigation Scheme simply reminded them of how the project had failed to impact on the lives of local farmers.
“For the past 30 years now, the project in Agoro has yielded nothing because it does not suit the interests of the locals and the water failed to sprinkle. Right now they are stealing and selling pipes and other metallic parts as scrap,” Mr Okeny said.
He added that unless government processes land titles for all the land owners in the project area, they will not trust the project.
Ms Rose Lamaro, a peasant at Lalem A Village, said they are worried that the project will obstruct them from grazing their animals, especially in the dry spell when animals roam freely around the banks of Unyama River.
“I cannot be part of it and I’m not offering my land because, at the beginning they come pleading for the land but next time you will see them deploying soldiers here and not even your cow can cross to the stream to drink water,” Ms Lamaro said.
On Wednesday, Ms Linda Auma, the Amuru Resident District Commander, said several attempts to talk to the residents to embrace the project failed.
“I’m scheduled to meet them myself next week and hold discussions with them without involving other politicians, this is a great development that we cannot afford to miss,” Ms Auma said.
In an interview, Mr Michael Lakony, the Amuru District chairperson, said there was a lot of negative politicking against the development. He said rejecting the project was a big disappointment to the district.
“Bad politics in the area is causing all these, others incited landowners that their land will be grabbed once they give government a nod to use it. But we are holding an emergency meeting and consulting with the ministry directly to see that the project is relocated to another area but within Amuru District,” Mr Lakony said.
This newspaper established that in May, a team of engineers from the Ministry of Water and Environment conducted feasibility studies in the project area and this month, they were set to return for boundary establishment before advertising for bids.
Attempts to speak to Mr Alfred Okot Okidi, the Permanent Secretary in the Water and Environment ministry, were futile as his known telephone numbers went unanswered.
But the ministry’s senior spokesman, Mr Charles Muwonge, said the ministry was yet to hold another discussion over the progress of the project although he did not disclose the details.
Mr John Bosco Ocan, the Atiak Sub-county councillor, who led the team, said the resistance was met from Abongo Rwot A, Pawel Kal, and Oloyo-mung villages due to lack of sensitisation.
Statement: The Energy Sector Strategy 2024–2028 Must Mark the End of the EBRD’s Support to Fossil Fuels
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is due to publish a new Energy Sector Strategy before the end of 2023. A total of 130 civil society organizations from over 40 countries have released a statement calling on the EBRD to end finance for all fossil fuels, including gas.
From 2018 to 2021, the EBRD invested EUR 2.9 billion in the fossil energy sector, with the majority of this support going to gas. This makes it the third biggest funder of fossil fuels among all multilateral development banks, behind the World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank.
The EBRD has already excluded coal and upstream oil and gas fields from its financing. The draft Energy Sector Strategy further excludes oil transportation and oil-fired electricity generation. However, the draft strategy would continue to allow some investment in new fossil gas pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, as well as gas power generation and heating.
In the statement, the civil society organizations point out that any new support to gas risks locking in outdated energy infrastructure in places that need investments in clean energy the most. At the same time, they highlight, ending support to fossil gas is necessary, not only for climate security, but also for ensuring energy security, since continued investment in gas exposes countries of operation to high and volatile energy prices that can have a severe impact on their ability to reach development targets. Moreover, they underscore that supporting new gas transportation infrastructure is not a solution to the current energy crisis, given that new infrastructure would not come online for several years, well after the crisis has passed.
The signatories of the statement call on the EBRD to amend the Energy Sector Strategy to
- fully exclude new investments in midstream and downstream gas projects;
- avoid loopholes involving the use of unproven or uneconomic technologies, as well as aspirational but meaningless mitigation measures such as “CCS-readiness”; and
- strengthen the requirements for financial intermediaries where the intended nature of the sub-transactions is not known to exclude fossil fuel finance across the entire value chain.
Download the statement: https://www.iisd.org/system/files/2023-09/ngo-statement-on-energy-sector-strategy-2024-2028.pdf
Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.
Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF THE DPC KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT FOR AIDING AND ABETTING LAND GRABBING IN NYAMUTENDE KITWARA PARISH KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT AND CARRYING OUT ILLEGAL ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF INNOCENT RESIDENTS/ BIBANJA OWNERS FOR PROTESTING AGAINST THE ILLEGAL EVICTION FROM THEIR LAND.
We act for and behalf of the Lawful and bonafide occupants of Land described as LRV MAS 2 FOLIO 8 BLOCK 8 PLOT 22 (FORMERLY KNOWN AS RANCH 22).
Our Clients are residents of Nyamutende Village, Kitwara Parish in Kiryandongo District where they have lived for more than 30 years and sometime in 2017, they applied for a lease of the said Land to Kiryandongo District Land Board through the Directorate of Land Matters State House.
As they were still awaiting their Application to be processed, they were shocked to establish that the said land had been instead leased to and registered in the names of Isingoma Julius, Mwesige Simon, John Musokota William, Tumusiime Gerald, Wabwire Messener Gabriel, Ocema Richard and Wilson Shikhama, some of whom were not known to the Complainants. A copy of the Search is attached hereto
Our clients protested the above action and appealed to relevant offices, but were shocked to discover that the above persons had gone ahead and sold the same to a one Maseruka Robert.
Aggrieved by these actions, the Complainants appealed to the RDC who advised them to institute proceedings against the said persons, and assigned them a one Mbabazi Samuel to assist them to that effect. The said Mbabazi accordingly filed Civil Suit Noa 46 of 2019 against tne said registered proprietors at Masindi High Court challenging the illegal and fraudulent registration, sale and transfer of the subject land to Maseruka Robert.
While awaiting the progress of the case mentioned hereinabove, the Complainants were surprised to find that the said Mbabazi, instead of assisting them, he went into a consent settling the said suit on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. A copy of the Consent is attached hereto.
Among the terms of the said consent Judgment was that the residents would be compensated without specifying how much and would in return vacate the Land.
As if that was not enough, Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel are going ahead to execute the said Consent Judgment by forcefully evicting the occupants without compensation which has prompted the complainants to challenge the said Consent by applying for its review and setting aside at Masindi High Court which is coming up for hearing on the 29th March 2023. A copy of the Application is attached hereto.
Sensing the imminent threat of eviction, we also filed an application for interim stay of execution of the said consent to avoid rendering their application for review nugatory but unfortunately the same could not be heard on the date it was fixed for hearing (6th February 2023). A copy of the Application is attached hereto
On Thursday last week, three tractors being operated by 6 workers of a one Mbabazi Samuel [the very person who had been entrusted to represent our Clients to secure their Land through Civil Suit No.46 of 2019] encroached close to 50 acres of our Clients’ land and started ploughing it but our Client’s protested and chased them away.
We have however been shocked to receive information from our Clients that on Sunday at Mid night, 3 police patrols invaded the community in the night and arrested community members; Mulenje Jack, Steven Kagyenji, Mulekwa David, Ntambala Geoffrey, Tumukunde Isaac 15 years, Kanunu Innocent, Mukombozi Frank, Kuzara, Rwamunyankole Enock, and took them to Kiryandongo Police Station where they are currently detained.
We strongly protest the illegal arrests and detention of our Clients as this is a carefully orchestrated land grabbing scheme by Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel who are receiving support from the DPC Kiryandongo.
The purpose of this Letter therefore is to request your good office to investigate the misconduct, abuse of office and unprofessionalism of the said DPC Kiryandongo District and all his involvement in the land grabbing schemes on land formerly known as Ranch 22.
Looking forward to your urgent intervention,
C.C The Head Police Land Protection Unit Police Head Quarters Naguru
CC The RDC Kiryandongo District
CC The Chairman LCVKityadongo District
CC The Regional Police CommanderAlbertine Region
The Executive Director of Witness Radio Uganda talks about the role played by Witness Radio in protecting communities affected by large-scale agribusinesses in Kiryandongo district in an interview with the ILC.
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