He further explained that such a tribunal would ensure that Kalangala residents will reclaim their land, which was allegedly grabbed by the government to secure land for the introduction of the oil palm project in the district.
The Democratic Party-DP presidential candidate Norbert Mao has
promised to establish a Stolen Assets Recovery Tribunal to address land
conflicts in the country.
Mao who was campaigning in Kalangala explained that the tribunal would ensure
that Kalangala residents will reclaim their land, which was allegedly grabbed
by the government to secure land for the introduction of the oil palm
project in Kalangala district.
//Cue in:"Obubbi bwe ttaka..
Cue out:...mu ggwanga lyaffe//
Oil palm growing is part of the government's Vegetable Oil
Development Project that was launched in 1998 to develop new and traditional
oilseed production in Eastern and Western Uganda. The project aimed at reducing
poverty and improving the livelihoods of the local communities. The government
thereby signed an agreement with Oil Palm Uganda Ltd-OPUL in 2002 to plant
10,000 hectares of oil palm in Kalangala district, particularly on Bugala Island.
According to the agreement, the government would acquire 10,000 hectares of
land while OPUL, a joint venture of big palm oil and vegetable oil
manufacturers- Wilmar and BIDCO (U) Ltd respectively would provide the seeds,
plant and also make palm oil for the main exportation.
Of the 10,000 hectares, the government would allocate it to BIDCO while
the rest would be left for out-growers and smallholder farmers.
However, between 2013 and 2015, over one hundred residents
including farmers accused the government and OPUL of grabbing their land which
they claim was forest land. Some of the residents claimed that their land was
taken before they were compensated or the compensation was inadequate.
Mao said that once he is elected, he will set up a tribunal to
look into land grabbing claims in the oil palm growing project and elsewhere in
Uganda because land disputes have risen over the years.
Apart from land grabbing, some of the oil palm farmers have also for long
decried low prices of oil palm fruits that have remained less than shillings
1,000 per kilogram.
Meanwhile, some they argue that voters in Kyamuswa County are
unhappy that Mao campaigned in only Bujjumba County. They argue that Mao should
have used the opportunity to popularise DP candidates at the local government
level. DP has not fielded candidates for the
The voters add that Mao, who is the first presidential candidate to campaign in
Kalangala, should have spent another day to travel to Kyamuswa county and
understand the challenges faced by the islanders.