There was dust in Parliament on Wednesday as Gilbert Oulanya, the Kilak County Member of Parliament, and First deputy Prime Minister, Gen Moses Ali, locked horns over Apaa sub-parish land clashes in Pabbo Sub County in Amuru district.
It happened while Hon. Anthony Akol (FDC, Kilak North) was presenting a statement about the same clashes during a plenary session presided over by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
Akol asked parliament to condemn the violation of human rights of the people in Apaa and that culprits be investigated and punished according to the law.
In what he described as the most barbaric attack from 4th -7th June 2017, Akol said 11 people have been confirmed dead, 8 people are missing, 28 severely injured, 142 huts and two community schools burnt down and over 7000 people displaced.
Akol said the attackers also killed goats, chicken and any domestic animals found in people’s homes.
“The people saw UPDF and Police armed with guns guarding the attackers and attackers were shooting them with arrows,” Akol said.
Oulanya, Gen Ali clash in war of words
Oulanya who had been fuming in his seat could not hold his anger anymore and took to the floor to denounce Gen Moses Ali as the first suspect in the conflict.
“All allegations against me, are baseless but I will not respond to them today,” Oulanya started, adding, “The way forward, we need to respect the language and land rights.”
He went on: “We request Government to relieve Gen Moses Ali of his office for he is the first suspect in this matter.”
The first deputy Prime Minister could not take such insolence lightly and hastened to respond saying whoever is involved deserves to be sent to Luzira prisons.
“Whoever is found involved in the Apaa conflict should go to Luzira, including myself or MP Oulanya,” Ali told the house.
He added: “It is okay, we can even go to Nalufenya.”
Oulanya chirped in saying he was “quite scared of Gen Ali for he is pointing at me, saying “You must be wet””.
Speaker Kadaga then asked MP Oulanya to move to the extreme end of the house where Gen Ali could not point directly at him.
Oulanya was not satisfied yet and he added: “The Gen Moses Ali keeps calling me ‘wet’, yet he is ‘wet ‘ himself.”
Ignoring the remark, Gen Ali suggested that those who have been in the gazetted area be settled elsewhere, and Government should follow up with those involved in the conflict.
Aruu county MP Odonga Otto joined the bandwagon and told the Speaker to hold breakfast meeting with MPs from both sides.
“I met Moses Ali and he refused to shake my hand,” Otto told Kadaga, adding, “This is a warning to you people, some of you came with tanks, but our people are still there.”
“You will never evict our people from there, that is one thing I will tell you. You don’t expect any Acholi MP to come and say that the people should be evicted,” Otto went on, emphasising that the issue of the Apaa conflict cannot be resolved on this floor of Parliament.
MP Akol too objected to the report from the Minister of State for Housing Dr. Chris Baryomunsi and asked that Gen Ali steps out of office for the investigation.
“It is regrettable that all these attacks took place when there is a police post in Apaa deployed by Adjumani district.”
Meanwhile, Akol reported that the Office of the Prime Minister should continue with the provision of humanitarian/relief assistance to the people of Apaa, and urgently provide no-food items including shelter materials during this rainy season.
The Deputy Attorney General, Hon. Mwesigwa Rukutana, said that language spoken does not determine district borders, as they were clearly demarcated in the Constitution.
He attributed the conflict to failure by local leadership to educate people about the right of all Ugandans to live anywhere in the country.
“We need to sensitise, educate and inform people that they need to live together,” he said.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, recommended that government guarantees security for everyone living and working in the affected areas; and sensitises the local communities about the district boundaries.
“I suggest that this time you involve the cultural leaders. I ask government to report back to Parliament in one month, the steps taken to solve this crisis,” said Kadaga.