Monday, 13 February 2017

The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has assured the landless people in Sebei sub-region that government is working closely with the local leaders in in the area to ensure that the landless people get land for resettlement.

The problem of the landless communities in Sebei sub-region emerged from the gazettement of Mt. Elgon Forest reserve in 1938 by the colonial government which rendered the Ndorobo people landless.

PM Rugunda addresses the landless Ndorobos people in Tariet Internally Displaced Person’s camp in Bukwo District (Photo by PMPU)

The subsequent resettlement plans by Government of the Ndorobo people in Kapsekek resettlement area in Mount Elgon National Park over the years and most recently in 2008 and 2011 by Government has not completely solved the Benet-Ndorobo, Tariet and Yatui community’s landlessness.

The Prime Minister who was visiting Bukwo and Kween districts on Thursday to assess the situation of the landless communities called upon the local leaders to work together as a team so that the landless people can get alternative land for resettlement.

Dr Rugunda also urged the landless people to live in harmony as government settles the land issues in the area.

The Premier advised the people to desist from the idea of settling in the national park and wetlands for purposes protecting the environment from degradation.

“Government wants to ensure that the environment is sustainable protected for the benefit of the people. We should therefore protect forests and wetlands and not interfere with them,” the Prime minister advised the people.

He added that the main reason why the area was facing drought was due to the destruction of the forest cover and the environment at large.

While visiting Tariet internally displaced person’s camp in Senedet Sub-County, the Premier expressed concern over the poor living conditions in the camp. He promised them government support in form of food items and tents for accommodation.

PM Rugunda (in a hat) addressing leaders in Bukwo district where he had gone to settle land issues affecting sebei sub-region (Photo by PMPU)

The Prime Minister however urged the landless communities to be flexible and be ready to be resettled in other areas where land is available.

Dr Rugunda thanked the people of Sebei sub-region for consistently and persistently supporting President Museveni and the NRM Government.

He asked the young people to take advantage of UPE, USE and other programmes implemented by the NRM Government to acquire education and be able to participate in the development and transformation process of the country.

The Prime Minister also thanked the area leaders for keeping government informed about the land issues in Sebei and consequently cooperating to ensure that the concerns are addressed.

The Minister for Tourism Wildlife, and Antiquities, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, emphasised the need to conserve the environment by protecting game reserves and forest covers.

He added that if the forest cover is gazetted for resettlement as required and desired by the Ndorobos, it will cause rainfall scarcity leading to drought and other environmental consequences.

Kamuntu noted that the scarcity of land for resettlement was a result of increased population in the area over time.

The Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Musa Ecweru pledged to work with the district leaders to reconcile the people, so that they can live in harmony until government finalises the resettlement plan.

The District leaders urged government to urgently address the resettlement question of the landless people in Sebei.