Lango Locals Sue Gov’t Over Karamojong Damages
By Milton Emmy Akwam
George Mawa, the former Lira Municipality mayoral candidate together with 170 others have dragged government to Court for damages caused by the Karamojong cattle rustlers on their gardens.
Mawa and others through their Lawyers Omara Innocent of Omara & Co. Advocates, Makmot Adam Kibwanga also of Makmot Kibwanga & Co. Advocates and five other counsels wants government to remove the rustlers from Otuke and Alebtong districts within 45 working days.
Talking from his ravaged cassava garden in Alololo parish, Olilim Sub-county in Otuke district on Sunday, Mawa said whereas he supports NRM with passion, it’s wrong to sit down and relax yet he sees something not right.
In their Statutory Notice dated January 19, signed by his lead Lawyer of Omara & Co. Advocates, received by Attorney General, it reads: “Take Notice That, Mawa George and Others of C/o. Omara & Co. Advocates and Solicitors P.O Box 440, Lira intends to institute a suit against THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA, in the High Court of Uganda at Lira by which the intending plaintiff shall seek declaratory orders, special, general and punitive damages arising from trespass/alienation of land, destruction of crops and land, cutting down of tress, cattle theft by Karamojong herdsmen and warriors.”
The Intending plaintiff’s cause of action arose as here-under.
One, the intending plaintiffs are land owners/resident of Alebtong and Otuke districts in Lango Sub-region.
Secondly, that the rustlers have since settled on the land and gardens of many residents including the intending plaintiffs while grazing their animals without the requisite consent and approval of the intending plaintiffs.
In their suit letter, they are demanding for immediate eviction of herdsmen from their land by Law enforcement and security agencies in addition to compensation of Sh6Bn.
It’s also worth noting that Esther Mbayo, Presidency Minister in her letter dated 3rd January, 2017 to Lira RDC Robert Abak ordered him to provide security to the herdsmen and ensure locals in Alebtong district give convenient space to the visitors she called ‘Fellow Ugandans’.
However, Mbayo’s letter sparked debate and anger among Lango NRM MPs most notably, Sylvia Akello, the Otuke district Woman MP who said it was a total betrayal from the government and party they all supported during elections.
During a tour of Otuke and Alebtong districts by this reporter on Sunday, locals in the two district claims the cattle rustlers uproot their crops, steal their clothes and had taken control of major water sources.
Responding to such allegation, Lopia Robert who’s one of the herdsmen’ leaders quashed all the allegations.
“I’m a Police officer attached to Bundibuyo district but am here to look after my 40 herds of cattle. Those days, Karamojong were ignorant because we were not told of peace, something we value so much now,” he said.
Lopia when asked on the number of animals his fellow herdsmen under his jurisdiction had he answered: “it was over 1,000 here.”