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Justice Bamugemereire in Karamoja amidst several land grabbing concerns

FILE PHOTO: Justice Catherine Bamugemereire

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Justice Catherine Bamugemereire of Land Commission has finally set foot in Moroto following several calls from residents over land grabbing.

There have been numerous calls from residents, local leaders and the Civil Society Organizations in Karamoja to the Commission to investigate land matters in Karamoja.

Karamoja sub region is currently battling several cases of land grabbing, some of which are before in courts of law, different government agencies and partners.

According to a report by Karamoja Development Forum, about 64% of land in Karamoja is covered under different government institutions.

Government has gazetted 40.8 percent of land under Wildlife protection, 12.5 percent for forestry conservation and has given mining concessions on 24.8 percent of the land as of 2010, according to a 2013 report by Associates Research Trust-Uganda.

The remaining part has been taken by investors, some of whom believed to be land speculators.

Christine Akot, the Moroto District Vice Chairperson, says it is an opportunity for Karamoja to host the Commission, something she feels, will give way to land reforms.

Simon Peter Longole, the Executive Director Karamoja Development Forum, says the Commission’s arrival in Karamoja has been long overdue.

He wants the Commission to address issues related to land reforms and systems other than individual cases.

The Commission is currently in Moroto for the community Barraza at Moroto District Chamber Hall. Justice Bamugemereire said they are engaging the community on their rights over land especially on customary land ownership, reserves, registration and titling and acquisition.

The region is fighting with its own who have reportedly joined hands with speculators to sell community land.  Most of the Karamoja land is under communal ownership, which has reportedly aided its sale.

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