Stop endless land fights in Bunyoro

Government should sort out once and for all the endless inter-ethnic feuds over land in Bunyoro. Only in July, we urged government to wake up to the dangers of these clashes.
Then, 20 houses were burnt in revenge attacks in Kigorobya Sub-county, Hoima District.

Now, more clashes between Banyoro and Congolese had more than 30 houses burnt down and a school destroyed still in Hoima. This time, the clashes were over a piece of land government returned to Bunyoro Kingdom after it was seized in 1967.

Surely, government should act now address the root causes and end these fights. It is unacceptable to see a nearly 400 mob storm Rwengabi village and battle for hours more than 100 Congolese with bows and arrows over a five square kilometre piece of land in Buseruka Sub-county. This lawlessness is not isolated the trail is scandalous in Bunyoro.

First was the bloody clash between the pastoralists and the Bagungu in Buliisa District in 2006. Then the skirmish between the Alur and the cattle keepers in Runga Landing Site over land adjacent to the oil sites in Hoima District in 2012.

The first clash left several people injured, including Buliisa County MP Stephen Mukitale Biraahwa while the second left three people dead, scores injured, and 25 huts burnt down.

Moreover, there are heightened struggles over land created by displaced families from oil-rich Kibaale Parish in Buseruka Sub-county, Hoima District.
These recurrent troubles over land which is limited, fixed, and generate emotive reactions, need a sustainable fair-to-all accord solution. But so far, no durable answer has been worked out by the local and central governments, paving way for these cycles of clashes.

The relevant authorities should devise lasting solutions to stop the fighting. This requires district authorities in Bunyoro, the immigrant Congolese, cattle keepers, and farmers sit down to pursue a win-win-situation over the problem of land use in Hoima, Kibaale, Bulisa, Kiryandongo and Masindi districts.

As the Kigorobya Sub-county district councillor and Hoima District chairman for production and natural resources committee suggested five months ago, the parties should respect the time-honoured land holding rights, and land use in the affected areas. This means land at the top of escarpments be set aside for cultivation and areas in lower Albertine escarpments dedicated to fishing and grazing.

Besides, the parties should come up with clear demarcations of the land as recommended by the police. Without a doubt, Bunyoro and its inhabitants should forge a consensus achieve agreeable and equitable resolutions to the land conflicts and stop the bloody fights.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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