Nwoya, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Nwoya district security officials and leaders will commence fresh verification of pastoralists.
The decision follows concerns that the majority of the pastoralists have evaded eviction, and are still illegally grazing their cattle in the district, nearly two months after an eviction order was issued.
The State Minister for Internal Affairs Gen. David Muhoozi in February ordered the eviction of all defiant pastoralists occupying community lands in Acholi, Lango, and parts of the West Nile sub-region.
The eviction orders stemmed from President Museveni’s directive requiring all pastoralists to fence off their grazing land, provide private water sources and settle land conflicts with locals.
Christopher Omara, Nwoya Resident District Commissioner who took over office barely a month ago says he found that only 11 pastoralists out of more than 50 have reportedly left the district voluntarily.
Omara says only about 494 cattle were reportedly transported out of the district in the past months, adding that thousands of cattle are still being illegally grazed in the sub counties of Got Apwoyo, Lungulu, and Anaka.
According to Omara, they now intend to verify the cattle keepers to find out if they have met all the directives issued by the President. He however says they will first meet with all the parish chiefs and local council one chairpersons in the affected sub counties before carrying out the verification.
“We have relaunched the operation now, all those (Pastoralists) who haven’t met the requirements must leave with immediate effect because this is disrespect to the presidential directives,” said Omara.
Omara adds that they have also begun receiving complaints of crop destruction from farmers in the various sub-counties where the pastoralists are herding their cattle.
“The community members are now complaining, others say they have started cultivation and the animals are destroying their crops because it’s a farming season. We want to rectify the situation by evicting illegal pastoralists,” he said.
Emmanuel Orach, the Nwoya LCV chairperson however faults the landowners in the community for continuously offering chunks of land to the pastoralists for grazing their animals and settlement.
He says whereas it’s the right of an individual to offer his/her land on a hire basis or sales, the majority of the pastoralists haven’t been able to fence it, sparking off contests with their neighbors.
According to Orach, the fresh verification exercise will help them to establish genuine pastoralists and those who are illegally occupying land so that they are evicted.