University, locals lock horns over Soroti land

Friday January 31 2014

By Richard Otim


A row has erupted between locals of Apuuton village in Arapai Sub-county, Soroti District and Soroti university of Science and Technology with the former accusing the University of attempting to force them out of their land.

The district chairperson, Mr George Michael Egunyu, on Wednesday said at least 16 families have been affected by the impasse that has been blamed on lack of authentic evidence on how much land actually belongs to the university.
“The university wants to open up its boundaries for development of its intended projects but it has been established that some homes in the neighborhood are in the university’s land and it is not clear how they got into the contested land,” Mr Egunyu said.

Some senior district officials have also been named in the scam of land grabbing around villages bordering Soroti University many of them reportedly anticipating to put up businesses targeting the students.
The land in contest, however, initially belonged to Teso College Aloet and was first surveyed in 1956 before part of it was donated for establishment of Teso College of Higher Education (TECHE) which never took off.

In 1996, a fresh survey was conducted at the time when Teso elders were proposing to set up Teso University but when the Soroti public university was initiated, plans to establish its exact boundaries were contested.

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