MPs probe Tororo land wrangle

Tororo Woman MP Sarah Achieng Opendi. PHOTO / FILE

What you need to know:

The dispute over the ownership of a 90-acre land is between the locals and the Director of Operations for Operation Wealth Creation, Ms Sylvia Owor Damali

Members of the parliamentary Committee on Physical Infrastructure have commenced investigations into a land wrangle in Nyakesi “E” Village, Iyokango Parish, Nyangole Sub-county in Tororo District.

The dispute over the ownership of a 90-acre land is between the locals and the Director of Operations for Operation Wealth Creation, Ms Sylvia Owor Damali.

Ms Owor claims the land in question belonged to her late father George William Owori, who also inherited it from his late father Otweyo Kagoyi.

The committee members toured the area at the weekend after the affected residents petitioned Parliament through their district Woman Member of Parliament Sarah Achieng Opendi.

The committee chairperson, Mr David Karubanga, advised the affected persons to remain calm as they wait for conclusion of the investigation and also warned the authorities against harassing the locals.

“I have tasked the area leaders to encourage their locals to remain law-abiding as we investigate this matter,” he said.

The MPs were informed by the locals that armed men in police and army uniforms have allegedly been harassing them.

Mr Aggrey Obonyo, one of the elders, said: “We have been living peacefully until recently in 2020 when Ms Owor in company of some armed personnel together with surveyors were seen walking around pieces of land taking pictures.”

Mr Patrick Otedo, another affected resident, said he inherited the land from his forefathers.

 “With connivance with the Area Land Committee, Ms Owor forged documents to apply for the registration of the land in contention,” he said.

Ms Opendi said her office had registered several cases of mistreatment of the locals.

 “There are allegations that  Ms Owor has been using soldiers to beat up people as well as use the name of Gen Salim Saleh to intimidate local authorities but this must stop,” she said.

Mr Gerald Rwemulikya, the Ntoroko County MP, warned Ms Owor against misusing security forces and asked her to relate well with the neighbours.

“The Constitution is clear that land belongs to the people and stresses that once a person has lived in a piece of land for more than 10 years then that person qualifies to be a bonafide occupant of that land,” he said.

Ms Owor, however, denied using armed forces to beat up people.

She acknowledged having body guards who are only restricted to their duties of providing safety to her.

“I don’t recall any day that my body guards have beaten any body in this village and if so, why haven’t they reported to police? ” she said.

The secretary to the District Land Board, Ms Sabano Samali Epiat, said the district has halted the application of land registration that had been filed by Ms Owor after getting a petition revoking the process.