By Abou Kisige
AMURU - Over 300 land disputes have been recorded in the northern Uganda district of Amuru during a five-day free legal service week.
Berna Bakkidde, the programs manager of the Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET), said approximately 60 cases were being registered on a daily basis during the five-day exercise.
The cases were registered in four sub-counties of Amuru, Atiak, Pobo and Lamogi in Amuru district recently.
“This district needs special attention from the judiciary if government is to promote peaceful living among citizens here. This is another war which should be handled with maximum care,” said Bakkidde.
She said the escalating land disputes in the district call for legal services to be availed to inculcate and promote justice within the communities.
The LASPNET programs manager made the remarks while closing a week-long legal aid clinic on access to land in Amuru district.
The clinic was organized by Actionaid Uganda in conjunction with LASPNET in Amuru, Pader and Nwoya districts, aimed at preaching the gospel of mediation of land conflicts.
The legal experts held sensitization meetings between youths, cultural leaders, district leadership, widows who were in dire need of legal advice.
Women participating in the sensitization session during the free legal aid clinic in Amuru district. PHOTO/Abou Kisige
Amuru, like other districts in northern Uganda, has since the end of the LRA insurgency in 2006 seen a rise in the number of land-related wrangles, as people who returned from Internally Displaced People’s camps have badly squabbled and feuded over land.
Bakkidde advised the police, prisons, district leaders and cultural leaders to be the kingpins of legal aid provision to sensitize people on land, property and women rights.
The Paramount Chief of Lamogi sub-county, Rwot Otinga Otto Otuka Yai, said some of the causes of land wrangles included the problem of youth selling land to buy motorcycles.
Other causes cited include youth selling one piece of land to several people hence creating confusion and fraud, family bickering, police and district leader’s involvement in these conflicts.
Walter Komakech, the deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Amuru district, said the sub-county land committees together with partners have started addressing the gaps in the land management in the district in which women and children are affected most.
Actionaid programs officer for governance, Timothy Kabaale, said there is need to put in place a referral mechanism, including using the existing structures like the police, cultural leaders and district officials to do what they are employed to do.
He called on government to implement the national land policy which aims to empower women gain access to land.