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Apac residents call for pro-poor land act

(Last Updated On: 30 August 2023)

Apac | Residents of Apac district have blamed the increasing land wrangles in the district to the weak legal framework to govern it.

The residents raised the concerns during a community dialogue organised by the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development as part of the activities to mark the Annual Land Awareness Week.

Patrick Enyunyi, a resident of Ibule Sub-county Apach district observed that the process of registering customary land is very expensive.

“I wanted to register but I realised it needs shs2.5 million and the process takes more than two years. Getting a customary land title does not favour the poor, it is for the rich. In the coming review, the government should make it easier for us to afford,” Enyunyi said.

Nancy Cuwi, a resident of Tetegu village Tetegu parish in Okokoro sub county Apac district, pointed out that she has been battling a court case for the last 13 years, but even after winning the case she has not gotten justice.

“Instead the land grabbers now want to kill me over land, I started from LC1, 2 and 3 courts, I won all, they refused to vacate my land, I went to Apac grade one magistrate court, and the judgement was in my favour, I went to Lira High court again I won the case, it is now two years they are still on my land,” she stated.

She also revealed that six households were supposed to be evicted, but they have continued to occupy her land, including threatening her life.

Also read: LAW 2023: Lango women call for protection of their land rights

Felix Ogwal, also a resident of Akokoro, also attested that he had a land conflict that went up to court. Judgment was done and he was ordered to some money which he paid but still, the person was encroaching on his land.

“I have made payments, I have the receipt, but the land grabber is still encroaching on my land. We need the government to review the laws that must favour the poor,” Ogwal said.

Abdallah Hassan Byantalo, land officer Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, advised the residents to first explore other alternatives for resolving land conflict before going to the court of law adding that up to 80% of the land is still customary which when to court is difficult to prove ownership.

It is very hard to prove before courts of law, that is the very reason we are here when your issues begin with the traditional cultural ways of resolving land disputes.

Ronald Bagaga,  the policy and Research officer of ESAFF, remarks, “The purpose of this is to get views of the small scale farmers, women, persons with disabilities who are most affected by the land issues so that we have pro people land laws.”

He added that the Land Rights Center was created to help people access relevant information on management.

The 7th Land Awareness Week of 2023 that is being done in Lango Region is under the theme: “Promoting Land Rights and Inclusion for Enhanced Production and Sustainable Development” in the districts of Lira, Apac, Dokolo, Amolatar, Kwania, Kole and Alebtong.

The Land Awareness Week was first held in 2017 in Acholi sub-region, in 2018 it was held in Teso. It was taken to Karamoja in 2019 and in 2020, it was held in West Nile.

In 2021, Land Awareness Week moved to Central Uganda, Kigezi in 2022 and now the Lango sub-region.

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