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Madi Delegation Delays Final Apaa Land Peace Agreement :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Madi Delegation Delays Final Apaa Land Peace Agreement

Lawrence Akuti, the head of the Madi Delegation told journalists in Gulu district that his team has received valuable input from interpretations of land and associated legal regimes of the country a meeting held today, Friday.
07 Dec 2018 20:37
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda (Center) With Head of Madi Delegation Lawrence Akuti (Left) and Head of Acholi Delegation to The Committee Dan Kidega After The Meeting At Presidential State Lodge In Gulu

Audio 5

The Madi delegation to the Presidential Committee on Apaa remains undecided on the three proposed positions for resolving the long running land dispute. The delegation has told the Presidential Committee of the Apaa land dispute that they require an additional one week to polish their position on the proposed options.

Lawrence Akuti, the head of the Madi Delegation told journalists in Gulu district that his team has received valuable input from interpretations of land and associated legal regimes of the country a meeting held today, Friday.

 

He said the team will communicate its final position to the committee headed by Prime Minister of Uganda Dr Ruhakana Rugunda for consideration next Friday.

 

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Akuti jointly addressed a press conference with Dan Kidega, the head of Acholi delegation alongside the chair of the Presidential Committee Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister of Uganda. This happened shortly after the third and last joint meeting of the committee held at the Presidential State Lodge in 4th Division Military barracks in Gulu Town on Friday afternoon.

 

Dan Kidega, who led the Acholi delegation said the Committee agreed on several fronts including the need to punish the criminal gangs which perpetrated violence in Apaa township, suspension of the numerous evictions, restoration of peace and security in the area as well as securing and guaranteeing the land rights of the affected people.

 

Kidega said as messengers of the people, their final position to the committee reiterated the position of the affected community of Apaa Township which calls for de-gazettement of the conservation area for human settlement.

 

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He said despite having no conclusive position on the three options, negotiations of the joint committee recorded many achievements including securing government commitment to compensate families of those who lost properties or died in the dispute.

 

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Kidega said the committee is grateful that the numerous lawful evictions perpetrated by rangers of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the Uganda Police and soldiers of Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) alongside Forest Guards of the National Forestry Authority (NFA) have been brought under control.

  

However, after the meeting, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda said the committee is still waiting for the final position of Madi delegation to inform the committee's final report to President Museveni and the government.

 

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Dr Rugunda said the gap between the two sides in the committee has narrowed considerably after months of deadlock. The two delegations agreed on several sticky issues including the need to give affected people a permanent home for settlement.

 

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The major disputes around Apaa Township relate to its ownership, economic land use for settlement or wildlife conservation, geographical boundaries of Amuru and Adjumani districts after the area measuring about 287 square kilometers was controversially declared a conservation area in 2002.

 The longstanding land dispute which has left at least 18 people dead and several others injured and scores of properties destroyed displaced a section of the affected communities into the compound of UN Human rights in Gulu Town in July this year.

 

This prompted President Museveni to set up the Apaa Presidential Land Dispute Mediation Committee during his visit to the affected area on August 22nd. He tasked the committee to consult the affected communities on three proposed options of resolving the dispute.

 The options are relocating and compensating the residents in Acholi districts or two; compensating and resettling them near Adjumani administrative headquarters and de-gazetting a section of the 827 Square kilometers expanse of Wildlife Reserve for their settlement.

 

Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA claims that Parliament gazetted the area, a Wildlife reserve, after Adjumani district local government declared it as part of East Madi Game Reserve.  Amuru district challenged the decision in Court.

 

Local government Minister Tom Butime also declared the area part of Adjumani district last October.