UPDF chiefs grabbing land in West Nile, parliament told

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The national army, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces [UPDF], is once again on the spot for land grabbing, this time, in the West Nile sub-region.

The commission probing Land management and Land acquisition yesterday heard that a highly-connected racket of officials in the UPDF are taking land illegally.

Pascal Okello, a Jonam clan representative in the region, told NTV that the Ugandan army is busy grabbing people’s land in the area with a backup of either their offices or “other high people” in government.

“These are not militias or rebels. I think let’s be honest, they are people in government and UPDF, highly placed,” Okello told the television.

Since the discovery of oil in the West Nile, there has been rush for land grabbing by both politicians, military men and other government officials.

Aryeri Yustus, the chairperson of Bunyoro land board, told the commission probing Land management and Land acquisition, that it is the politicians causing land problems in the region.

Video by NTV Uganda:

Meanwhile, the government chief valuer, Gilbert Kermundu, told the commission that his office is not established under the law, and has only nine staff serving the entire country which leaves it ineffective.

In March 2017, the deputy coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), Lt Gen. Charles Angina, ordered the arrest of the OWC coordinator for Mbarara Municipality, Captain David Bashaija, for using his position to grab land.

The land he is said to have grabbed includes 31.8 hectares from the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO) Institute in Mbarara.

The order came a day after President Museveni ordered encroachers on the NARO institute’s land in Mbarara district to vacate immediately.

Dr Imelda Kashaija, the deputy director general for NARO, told Daily Monitor that the agricultural research development institute in Mbarara has lost 31.6 hectares to Captain Bashaija.

In March 2015, a UPDF Brigadier, Phinehas Manoni Katirima, was accused of grabbing land in Lyantonde town.

In August 2006, UPDF officers were accused of using herdsmen to grab land in Madi-Okollo and Vurra Counties in Arua District.

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