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Herdsmen in Lamwo Sue Leaders Over Planned Eviction

Through their lawyer Oyet and Company Advocates, the pastoralists have filed a civil suit at Gulu High Court seeking redress against a decision reached by the leaders on October 21. They argue that the decision to forcefully evict them from Palabek County was illegal and a violation of their rights.
A copy of the civil suit filed against leaders in Lamwo district Photo By Dan M Komakech
Eleven pastoralists have sued the Palabek Cultural Institution and six Sub County Chairpersons challenging an impending eviction of pastoralists from Palabek County in Lamwo district.

Simon Timbigamba, Petero Bashaijja, John Bosco Kamanzi, Moses Gakumba, George William Katozi, Emmanuel Tayebwa, William Fendi, Sylvester Ndayisaba, Yoweri Nahabwe, Fred Bainomugisha and Frank Rwamushana have sued Joel Watokee the LCIII Chairperson for Palabek Gem Sub County, Noel Okiya the Urban Council Chairperson for Palabek Town Council and Moses Billi the LCIII Chairperson Palabek Nyimur Sub County.

Through their lawyer Oyet and Company Advocates, the pastoralists have filed a civil suit at Gulu High Court seeking redress against a decision reached by the leaders on October 21. They argue that the decision to forcefully evict them from Palabek County was illegal and a violation of their rights.   They want the court to issue the respondents and their agents with a permanent injunction restraining them from interfering with their rights to ownership of property and their rights as citizens to lawfully live anywhere in Uganda.

Last month at Palabek Kal Secondary School, the Palabek Cultural institution through its Prime Minister Denis Akaka ordered the pastoralists to vacate all areas within Palabek County. During the meeting, it is also alleged that the local leaders resolved that any indigenous person who sold or leased customary land to the herdsmen should cancel the transactions.

However, the herdsmen say that they have been occupying and herding their animals on land that they lawfully acquired through purchase or tenancy and joint venture with the landowners and the intended eviction was a violation of their rights to ownership of their land.

Palabek County leaders allege that the continued intrusion of the pastoralists is in breach of the presidential directive that ordered them out of Acholi in 2018 and a violation of the Cattle Grazing Act, the Animal Diseases Act, ordinances and bylaws that prohibits animal movement.   

According to the notice, pastoralists are frustrating productivity as their animals are destroying crops, spreading livestock diseases and reportedly becoming a security threat after it was purported that they own firearms and occasionally threaten people.

They also claimed that their continued settlements and acquisition of land by the pastoralists for grazing their animals was a violation of the provision of the constitution that recognizes cultural land tenure system to the traditional land system.

Last week, President Musevenigave two months to the Balaalo herdsmento vacate Northern Uganda or face forceful eviction and prosecution following claims from the locals that the pastoralists’ animals are destroying their crops.

   

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