Prof. Sunday Olwor Nicholas, the Commission's Under Secretary on Tuesday said that they have registered complaints relating to Apaa land that they intend to address through the social justice mechanism.
The Equal Opportunities Commission – EOC has started inquiries into grievances on the contested Apaa land.
Dispute over the 827 Square kilometres of Apaa land started in 2012 when
Adjumani district council gazetted the area as East Madi Game Reserve. The move
was opposed by Amuru district leaders who likewise claimed rights over the same
Protracted conflicts between Acholi and Madi communities
characterized by deadly attacks using machetes, bows and arrows, burning of
grass thatched houses displacing hundreds of area residents.
Amuru leaders claim at
least 18 people have died following clashes over Apaa.
Prof. Sunday Olwor Nicholas, the Commission's Under Secretary on
Tuesday said that they have registered complaints relating to Apaa land that
they intend to address through the social justice mechanism. He says that a team of lawyers from the commission have been dispatched to conduct an inquiry.
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Prof. Olwor says that after the inquiry, the commission shall consider to
structure a tribunal that will adjudicate on the matter through an alternative
means of dispute resolution.
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The inquiry by the Commission comes barely six months after President Museveni
appointed Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah to chair a second
committee to investigate the Apaa boundary row. But the Committee is yet to
In 2015, the government forcefully installed mark stones on the
disputed land to demarcate boundaries amidst protests from Amuru residents.
This left more than 20 people injured after police used live bullets to
disperse those who opposed the exercise.
In 2017, Tom Butime, the Minister of Local Government declared
that indeed Apaa was part of Adjumani. In 2018, an eight-member committee from
Acholi and Madi steered by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda were formed to
investigate the matter in vain.
Also, an independent Acholi team chaired by Dr Daniel Komakech, a
distinguished Gulu University tutor settled for degazettement of the disputed
area for human settlement while the Madi team, on the other hand, settled for
the relocation of the residents.
The same year, leaders from
both Acholi and Madi failed to agree on President Yoweri Museveni’s proposal to
end Apaa land wrangle. Museveni had recommended relocation of Apaa settlers to
Acholi area and be supported and compensated by government.
Other options were to allow genuine landowners settle
on the land but be restricted from expanding to gazetted areas and be offered a
portion of land near Adjumani Town, outside gazetted land.
The Acholi team insisted
that genuine landowners be allowed to continue settling in Apaa and called
for degazettement of the contested land while their counterparts from
Adjumani endorsed a total relocation of the locals, saying the residents had
settled in a gazetted wildlife reserve.