The Uganda Railway Corporation-URC has ordered encroachers on the
railway reserve land in Gulu-Omoro-Nwoya and Pakwach districts to vacate.
Hundreds of illegal settlements and businesses have been established within the
URC reserve land since the railway transport in the country was grounded about
a century ago.
URC says that the encroachers have up to March 30 2022, to vacate the areas to
pave way for development and revamping the railway transport as planned or risk
being evicted forcefully.
William Korotyo, the Uganda Railway Corporation Land Investigation Committee
Chairperson that was established by the Works and Transport Minister Gen.
Katumba Wamala says that the encroachers had earlier been given a six-month ultimatum
to vacate the land.
The ultimatum elapsed on September 30 2021 but the occupants asked for more
time to vacate the land.
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Cue out: …the railway line.’’//
Along the stretch between Gulu-Omoro-Nwoya and Pakwach districts,
there are hundreds of permanent and temporary structures which are already
established on the URC land both for settlements and businesses.
Ambrose Otieno, the Uganda Railway Corporation Permanent Way
Inspector at the Gulu station says that the squatters have been sensitized and
notified of the plans to revamp the railway transport and the ultimatum to
vacate the land.
He added that they have met resistance from a section of the
squatters who are demanding compensation for their properties while some of
them have voluntarily accepted to vacate within the stipulated period.
He explained that the railway reserve land must be on a 30 by 30
meters’ radius and 100 by 100 meters’ radius from both sides of the railway
line for the rural and urban areas respectively.
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Michael Ocaya, the Chairperson for Lacor-Layibi Market in Gulu
City which occupies the railway land says that they are willing to vacate the
land within the stipulated time.
//Cue in: ‘’jo me railway…
Cue out: …cok obibedo pe.’’//
Bernard Kinyera, the Chairperson of Layibi Railway Market equally
says that they have already received the notice adding that they are ready to
vacate as soon as possible.
However, Yolanda Olanya a vendor at Layibi Railway Market pleaded
with the Uganda Railway Corporation to give them adequate time to acquire land
in another area.
Patricia Adwono, the Vice-Chairperson Wang-Lei Village in Pakwach
district appealed to those residing on the railway reserve land to vacate to pave
ways for development.
The Uganda Railway Corporation says it has contracted SOGEA
Company to undertake the repair and replacement of the damaged railway lines
for a possible resumption of railway transport in the country.
Emmy Daniel Ojara is a young journalist and has been practicing since 2013, during which he covered land rights violation in the contested Apaa and Lakang in Amuru as his first take ups while at Gulu Fm, Favor Fm and later Paidha Fm and Speak Fm where he is still attached.
Human rights abuses and denied access to land by security and government agencies has been the major aftermath of the contest over the lands. The underprivileged such as women, children and the elderly faced challenges in accessing soc