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Teso launches no land, no vote campaign

Itesot community in Abim. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Itesot community in Abim, Kotido and Napak districts has launched a campaign dubbed “Dongo Ni Nura” literally meaning “No Land No Vote”.

The campaign is in relation to the long-running feud between the Iteso and Acoli-labwor community over the ownership of Alungar, Morolokwangat, Apopongo, Nyakwai, Akuoro, Aolio, Apuuton villages and part of Nyarikidi zone, which are currently occupied by over 16,000 Itesot.

Towards the end of last year, 50-year-old Juventine Aeru and several other members of the Itesot community were hacked to death at different locations by suspected Labwor community members. The matter has severally come up on the floor of parliament but little has been done to resolve the dispute.

Last year, Uganda Wildlife Authority evicted over 785 people from the 60 square kilometre piece of land of Moru Alokwangat game reserve, which connects the three districts of Abim, Kotido and Napak. Now, the Itesot community has decided to ride on the general elections to push for their land rights.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign at Atooti hotel in Soroti city on Monday, Anthony Okanyum, the lead lawyer of eviction victims says the land in question was granted to the Itesot by the colonial masters when the area was still under the then Moroto district.

Okanyum says there have been killings and lootings perpetrated by a few individuals. He says the Itesot community has endured discrimination since they were evicted last year yet the government has remained silent on the matter.

Simon Peter Onyait, a resident of Moru Alokwangat says their living situation is worsening, adding that they want the president to come to their rescue.

Some of the residents told URN that they are being mistreated in the eviction exercise.

John Stephen Ekoom, the Soroti Resident District Commissioner advised the petitioners to officially write their claims through responsible authorities if their quest for justice is to be heard by the president.



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