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Land Commission Opens Public Hearing in Acholi Sub Region

The commission headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, will over the next one week review the effectiveness of law, policies and processes of land acquisition, land administration, land management and land registration in the sub-region.
Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire (c) and her Commissioners, Mary Oduka Ochan (R) and at Wakiso Land Office in June 2017
The Commission of Inquiry into land matters has opened public hearings in Acholi sub-region.

The commission headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, will over the next one week review the effectiveness of law, policies and processes of land acquisition, land administration, land management and land registration in the sub-region.

They will hear from academia, prominent elders in Acholi sub-region, lawyers and land managers amongst others.  The sub-region consists of Gulu, Amuru, Pader, Kitgum, Lamwo, Nwoya, Omoro and Agago districts.

On the first day of the hearings, the commission heard from retired Supreme Court Judge Galdino Okello, Rwot Richard Santos Apire, the Chief of Atiak Chiefdom and Gulu district Chairperson Martin Ojara Mapenduzi.

They all outlined the major causes of land conflicts in post-conflict Acholi and their adverse impacts on the peace and development of the sub-region. They recommended the abolition of land boards in the administration of land saying that instead of providing solutions, the boards are polarizing land matters.

Retired Justice Galdino Okello said the length of time spent on prosecuting land matters in court is complicated land wrangles in the sub-region.

Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, Gulu district chairperson told the commission that most of the contentious land matters began during the time people were in Internally Displaced Person camps and as they left for home.

Rwot Richard Santo Apire, the chief of Atiak Chiefdom outlined roles of traditional and cultural leaders in resolving land conflicts in Acholi. He said some Chiefdom's require capacity building while others are properly constituted to effectively manage land issues.

According to Rwot Apire, traditional disputes resolution mechanism also known as Riyo Tal should be promoted and encouraged while the certificate of customary ownership should be streamlined for people to properly understand it, embrace it and use it.

They also want investors to directly approach landowners without involving government in the managing the process. The Commission will hear public complaints and proposals on land management in areas of wetlands, forests and other public assets among others.