New market brews boundary dispute between Gulu, Amuru

Cattle traders in the market. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • The Corner Ade Livestock Market was established less than two months ago by Palaro sub-county authorities to boost the booming livestock trade in the area.

The establishment of a new livestock market at Ade Village, Oroko Parish, Palaro Sub-county in Gulu District, has sparked a bitter conflict over land boundaries between Gulu and Amuru districts, the Monitor has learnt.

The Corner Ade Livestock Market was established less than two months ago by Palaro sub-county authorities to boost the booming livestock trade in the area.

However, disagreement over which district must collect revenue from the market erupted when Atiak Sub-county in Amuru District and Palaro Sub-county locked horns, with each side claiming that the parish in which the market is established is located within their boundaries.

On Monday, Mr Stephen Odong Latek, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner (RDC) accused the Gulu District leadership of establishing the market without consulting its neighbour Amuru, even when it knew the area territorially belonged to Amuru.

“Corner Ade is in Oroko, it is where the newly-established market is located, but it is disturbing that the presumption in the minds of the leaders of Gulu is that Oroko is in Palaro in Gulu yet it is in Amuru District, and this is on record,” Mr Odong said.

Mr Odong explained:  “Seven years ago, Gulu and Amuru district leaders went and met the Ministry of Local Government and they agreed that Oroko Health Centre II and schools be administered from Amuru.”

Mr Odong said claims by the Gulu District Local Government over the area were aggravated by politicians for political capital during campaigns.

“The problem was worsened by politicians, recently, we sat for a security meeting with chairpersons of Atiak, Palaro and Gulu, together with the RDC and we resolved that the district staff surveyors go down there and establish boundary administration. This week, we shall agree on a way forward,” Mr Odong said.

“Once the joint survey finds that the area belongs to Gulu, it will be so and handed over to them and if it’s to Amuru, we will be the ones to own the market and collect the revenue,” he added.

But Mr Christopher Ateker Opiyo, the Gulu District chairperson, said the confusion over who collects revenue at the new animal market is uncalled for since the administrative boundaries between Amuru and Gulu are clear.

Mr Opiyo said Oroko parish where the disputed market is located, is in Gulu District.

“How can a rabbit claim a calf of a cow, can that happen? I have talked about this many times, the map is very clear and Oroko, which they are claiming to be part of Amuru is a parish in Gulu District with five villages well stipulated in the map.”

Mr Opiyo said the leadership of the two districts should meet and come up with a solution to the current impasse for better service delivery to the people.

“The lower local leadership of the parish have been served copies of maps of the area showing the parish and the villages, so we shall not waste our time over something which is not going to benefit our people,” Mr Opiyo added.

Background

When this newspaper sought to verify with the Gulu District land office where some residents of Oroko Parish had gone to register and document their land, it found that landowners from the area were being referred to the Amuru District land office since the GPS coordinates of the area read Kilak Sub-county in Amuru District.

When Amuru was carved out of Gulu District in 2006, Kilak Sub-county and Nwoya County were supposed to be part of the new district. However, only Kilak sub-county became part of Amuru and Nwoya instead became a new district.

During the 2021 General Election, residents of Oroko Parish voted under Gulu District.

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