The Prime Minister Ker Kwaro Acholi Ambrose Olaa accused some government officials for taking herdsmen “Balalo” from western Uganda mainly the Bahima and Banyarwanda into Aswa Ranch Acholi sub region.
The Prime minister revealed the information before the commission of inquiry into land matters that is currently holding public hearings in Gulu district – he urged the commission to urgently investigate Acholi land especially the Aswa Ranch that is being grabbed by Balalo.
It is also reported that there is an organized ring comprising of local security officials especially the Gombolola internal security officers, district officials working in consort with people and other individuals outside Acholi Region.
“These Balalo act with highest levels of arrogance and impunity to the extent that they are insensitive to the concerns of the local people where they let their cattle graze uncontrolled and when the local people complain others are beaten and some end up being arrested with help of the security personnel who protect illegal activity in Aswa Ranch.” Olaa
Olaa while testifying before the commission chaired by lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire lead by Ebert Byenkya stated that There are a number of private individuals “Balalo” operating in Aswa Ranch illegally herding their cattle’s and carrying out illegal logging to extent that rare wood tree species called Beyo is being threatened to extinction. – main culprit being Uganda Livestock industries who is alleged to be renting out Aswa Ranch and national resources to private individuals – hence posing serious threats to environment.
Acholi region is facing unprecedented land problems and this all started right after 2006 insurgency – Ker Kwaro Acholi began to witness surge of interest land and other natural resources characterized by rampart cases of fraud, manipulation and corruption among others.
Unfortunately this was championed by government’s agents and officials – one of them being Ministry of Animal Industry and Fisheries, National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank NAGRIC, Uganda Livestock industries ltd plus several well placed people in the government.
Brief history of Aswa Ranch
In 1967 the people of Acholi District Council entered a lease arrangement for 49 years with the government to make available land for investment in livestock improvement and breeding – this was done between Uganda Development Corporation through Uganda Livestock industries but this was disrupted by various wars in the region.
The Ranch was looted and property destroyed over the years nothing happened until the end of violence in Acholi in 2006. In 2016 the 49 year lease expired creating anxiety over the ownership of the land. Multiple titles being peddled.” Everything was done shrouded in secrecy and concealment this disrespectful to the good will of people of Acholi and our trust being abused unabated.
The Ministry of Animal industries and fisheries issued a letter to NAGRIC directing to parcel out parts of Aswa Ranch to private individuals, different entities and this has angered greatly the people of Acholi for being taken for granted.
Investigate more on:
The prime minister urged the commission of inquiry into land matters to investigate further on the false claims of ownership of Aswa Ranch and the fraudulent multiple land titles by different entities and the most notorious being Uganda Livestock industries lt.
Also look into the illegal extension of boundaries that is affecting areas that were originally not within the ranch now covering the districts of pader, Kitgum and Lamwo.