THE Government has said it wants to thrash out a formula whereby the indigenous Banyoro live in harmony with the immigrants, also known as Bafuruki, in Bunyoro region. Information minister Kabakumba Matsiko said yesterday that calls for settlers to leave
and Francis Kagolo
THE Government has said it wants to thrash out a formula whereby the indigenous Banyoro live in harmony with the immigrants, also known as Bafuruki, in Bunyoro region.
Information minister Kabakumba Matsiko said yesterday that calls for settlers to leave Bunyoro or ban them from owning land was not the solution.
â€œNo one is saying that the Bafuruki should leave. Neither is anyone chasing them away. The Government is working on how the Banyoro and Bafuruki can co-exist,â€ she told The New Vision in a telephone interview.
Internal affairs state minister Matia Kasaija had over the weekend told a meeting of Banyoro in Kampala that the immigrants should not own land in Bunyoro.
He also asked the indigenous Banyoro to strive and get back the land which is possessed by immigrants and Baganda absentee landlords. â€œWe think the Bafuruki can only be tenants on our land. They can only stay in Bunyoro through either leasing or renting land,â€ Kasaija said.
Asked for a reaction, ethics minister James Buturo told The New Vision that â€œstrong statementsâ€ should be avoided by both parties.
The ethics minister further observed that statements made by people on either side must fit within the laws. â€œEvery Ugandan has rights. No law prohibits a Ugandan from living anywhere,â€ he said, advising settlers â€œto be sensitive to concerns of communities they settle in.â€
Kasaija told the Banyoro living in Kampala on Sunday that the native people were languishing in poverty because the immigrants had grabbed large chunks of land.
He blamed the immigrants for the massive deforestation that has resulted into drought and famine which he said had killed five people and hundreds of animals in Mpeefu sub-county.
On the proposal by President Yoweri Museveni to keep elective posts in Bunyoro for the indigenous people, Kasaija said it was long overdue. He called for affirmative action where special parliamentary seats should be created for immigrants only in areas where they are concentrated.
â€œThe excessive influx of Bafuruki in Kibaale is slowly spreading to the whole of Bunyoro,â€ Kasaija said. â€œThey say I am not nationalistic but a nation is built by blocks. If these blocks are not fitted properly, it will not stand. We are all Ugandans and can live together but we have our peculiar customs to protect.â€
He proposed the ring-fencing to be done for 20 years, after which the policy can be revised. He, however, warned the Banyoro against using violence when dealing with the immigrants, saying force no longer works.
He also disclosed that the first disbursement of the 700 million pounds ($1.4 billion), which Britain promised Uganda to finance the Land Fund, would come in this financial year. The Government will use part of the money to compensate Baganda absentee landlords, he said.
Banyoro, Bakiga must co-exist â€” govt