Clergy translate Land Act into Luo

Tuesday September 13 2011

By Sam Lawino & Jacky Adure


The Acholi Religious Leaders Peace initiative (ARLPI) has launched a Luo version of the Uganda Land Act (Cap 227) to help communities understand it better, a move aimed at scaling down land-related wrangles.

Speaking during the launch of the Act in Gulu last week, the ARLPI chairman and Bishop of Northern Uganda Diocese, Johnson Gakumba, urged stakeholders to educate the people about the Act to stop land-related wrangles in the region.

“The gun is silent but we have turned to land wars. I appeal to the Acholi not to kill one another over land, instead see it as resource and utilise it,” Bishop Gakumba said. He said lack of education, people’s failure to utilise opportunities and living on handouts were hindering Acholi from utilising their land.

Land wrangles have intensified in northern Uganda, especially after the government announced that it was safe for the people to return to their original villages after several years of living in internally displaced people’s camps. Aid agencies have warned that the increasing land wrangles could threaten the peace prevailing in the region.

In Amuru, the district worst affected by the wrangles, the District Police Commander, Mr Jusinto Ovuru, said the police recorded over 800 land-related violence ranging from arson, assault and malicious damage to property. “LCs are not doing much as expected. There are outcries in villages that the LCs do not settle cases of those who cannot offer money,” Mr Ovuru said.

He said traditional chiefs and the LCs levy huge fees for hearing cases.
The Land Act explains issues of litigation, the right of widows to own land, procedures of accessing freehold and how to get public land, among others.