January 19, 2015

Katakwi Residents Petition IGG Over Land

More than 450 members of Itekok Imongoria and Ijujula clans in Katakwi district have petitioned the Inspectorate of Government citing the fraudulent sell of 1,834 hectares of their customary land in Olilim Sub County to the army.

A farmer Joseph Okiror from Magoro in Katakwi district
A farmer Joseph Okiror from Magoro in Katakwi district

The disputed land was sold to the army by Retired Col William Omaria for the establishment of an army school.

However, the petitioners claim they were never consulted before the decision to sell off their customary land to the army was reached.

In their 9 page petition to the IGG copied to parliament, the aggrieved clan members state that, they were shocked to see the army surveying their land, which covers Adong and part of Palam village.

The petitioners say the army has blocked their repeated attempted to reoccupy their ancestral land. 89- year- old Felix Otionomo, head of Itekok Imongorai clan told our roporters over the weekend shortly after a crisis meeting at Olilim Army training wing that he doesn’t know how Col Omaria came to own their land, which he later sold to UPDF.

He points to the grave of their grandfathers who were buried in 1937, which are on the disputed land as proof of their ownership of the land.

46-year-old Moses Arwaitum, a member of Ijujula clan says they are mourning for losing their land because some of them have virtually had an entire life in the camp only to be denied ownership of their ancestral clan land.

He says government should have consulted area residents for possible compensation instead of taking over their land. Col William Omaria says he obtained the disputed land when he bought off the former Soroti meat packers from government and gave him powers to own all its assets including Olilim land.

Capt. Denis Omara, the 3rd Division army spokesperson says UPDF denies any wrong doing on the part of the army saying they acquired the land legally. He advises the aggrieved parties to contact Col William Omaria and have their issues addressed.

He says the army is pro-people and all that is done is for the good of the people.

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