By Lawrence Kazooba
For the past couple of days, the world has been treated to the unfortunate, savagely as well as cruel carnage over Apaa land dispute.
The misgivings over this land are not a thing of yesterday. In April 2015, the world was treated to uncalled for drama, which was defended by Acholi politicians and elite, after a group of women, high on alcohol undressed before a visiting delegation of government officials including ministers.
The politicians, led by area MP Gilbert Oulanya, were accused of organizing the women who allegedly were protesting the ministers’ coming to their area to give away their land.
On the contrary, upon hearing about the threat the land conflict was causing, the then minister of lands Daudi Migereke and his counterpart in internal affairs Gen Aronda Nyakairima (RIP) had visited the area to assess the situation that was tearing the two neighbouring communities, Acholi and Madi, apart.
The ministers ended upon being embarrassed by the conduct of women. No Acholi leader condemned their conduct. Instead, they were defended. The government initiative in the matter unfortunately died as the champions of resolving the matter gave the matter some unlimited time.
Some superstitious people said a curse had been made on the personalities and were asked to go for cleansing. In the end, Migereko lost his seat in Parliament and minister’s job while Aronda died a couple months later despite strongly recommending that a survey of the land must be done.
The Acholi community, in this conflict, is louder than the Madi. It is side of the story being heard for one reason or the other. One would imagine, the Madi people are politically orphaned.
The Acholi leaders also make it look as if the government was colluding with Madi to grab the land from Acholi as if the Madi will henceforth live on Mars!
Without going into the history of the land conflict, I would like to say this problem is self inflicted. And if Acholi and Madi people in this area don’t allow dialogue and scientific methods of land demarcation as well as the rule of law to prevail, more blood will be shed.
It is sad that some human beings are walking with arrows into their bodies, but, the thinking of invincibility and steering trouble must end in Apaa if this problem is to be resolved.
Some Acholi political leaders, particularly Oulanya as usual, are drumming up the conflict, making sweeping statements to fire up locals. This is uncalled for if they want the problem resolved.
Oulanya’s chaotic conduct in this matter should be investigated and if found culpable for inciting people, he should bear some responsibility for the blood spilled over Apaa.
Otherwise, his conduct and that of some people is not helping to resolve a crisis in the area. As Area MP, Oulanya should be on the side of solution finders, and not to add fuel to the furnace.
Apaa land should be surveyed. Communities should be involved in finding solutions. Reconciliation should take place. Compensation for those who deserve should be done. MP Oulanya should educate his people to know that Ugandans are free to settle anywhere in Uganda and that no land is a preserve for a given tribe. Period.