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LC 1 Chairperson Released After Spending Months in Detention :: Uganda Radionetwork

LC 1 Chairperson Released After Spending Months in Detention

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Elungat was arrested on November 24th, 2020 when he attempted to seek audience with Bukedea district officials over the alleged proposal to dispose of land in his area.
Tokor LC1 Chairman, James Peter Elungat with his wife, Betty Achom after release on Tuesday.

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James Peter Elungat, the Tokor Village Chairperson in Kabarwa Sub County in Bukedea District has finally regained his freedom after being incarcerated for three months. Elungat was arrested on November 24th, 2020 when he attempted to seek audience with Bukedea district officials over the alleged proposal to dispose of land in his area.

His troubles started from a crisis meeting he convened with residents after accessing minutes of secret meetings involving leaders from Bukedea, Ngora and Serere districts where they discussed plans to sell off selected pieces of land in their districts.

During the meeting, residents tasked Elungat to seek clarification from district authorities about the proposed sell of land in Kabarwa and other places like Kolir in Bukedeea district, Kodike and Agu in Ngora district and Kamurojo, Abuket and Kateta Hill in Serere district.  Shortly after the meeting, Elungat was picked up and charged with holding an illegal meeting, inciting violence and forging documents.

He was denied access to his family members, something that raised concern from relatives and local leaders in his area. Residents of Tokor Village even barred politicians from canvassing votes on their village over what they termed as illegal incarceration of their leader.  

Elugant returned at home on Tuesday evening after the Bukedea grade one magistrate’s court released him on bail. According to Elungat, his family paid Shillings one million to secure his release on bail. Residents woke on Wednesday morning, to the news of their leader’s return.  They abandoned their home chores to have a glimpse of their leader who had been incarcerated for seeking clarification from the government.  Elungat told URN in an interview that he lived a very miserable life in detention.

“I was detained at Bukedea Central Police Station for three days before going to court. In court, I was slapped with charges I didn’t expect and when I denied the charges, they threw me in the COVID- 19 quarantine center in Kumi for close to one month”, he said.

In his narrative, Elungat says he woke up on November 20th, 2020 only to find an envelope dropped in his compound. He says that when he opened it, he was shocked to find minutes of a meeting held at Speak Resort, Munyonyo on June 12, 2020 involving Members of Parliament from Bukedea, Ngora and Serere districts. The meeting was also attended by some senior army officers and new political entrants in Teso.  The document shows that ATLAS Group of Companies was seeking land from the said areas. 

In the minutes, the participants vowed to acquire land in the selected areas by all means using ‘friendly forces’ who were supposed to be MPs.  According to Elungat, he convened a meeting with electorate s who were concerned about the content of the documents in the presence of the Officer in Charge, Kabarwa Police Post, Simon Ecokit whom he invited. He, however, notes that after learning the content of the documents, Ecokit advised him to seek more information from district authorities.

“We went to DPC’s office, where we met the Resident District Commissioner, Ramathan Walugembe and District Planner only identified as Ongaba. The RDC and Planner were quickly called on the phone by the DPC, Ezra Tugume. In that meeting, I was instead tasked to produce the author of the documents. Tables turned against me and I was asked to record a statement with the OC CID and immediately detained after interrogations”, he narrates.

Ateso byte

//Cue in “Apapulai nu adumunit… 

Cue out…ocaalo ka”//

Simon Aisu, one of the elders found at Elungat’s residence says he was relieved to see him back. He explained that they are still wondering why their village chairperson was incarcerated without allowing anyone to visit him in cells.

Ateso byte

//Cue in “Itukoina isio…

Cue out…ikosi ikoku”//

Elungat says the bail cost him three goats, one cow and two pigs including renting out a piece of land at (218,000 shillings). Tugume has since been transferred from Bukedea to Entebbe in the recent Police reshuffle.