This week, the Commission of Inquiry into the Effectiveness of Law, Policies and Processes of Land Acquisition, Land Administration, Land Management and Land Registration in Uganda chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire commenced public hearings.
So far, a number of prominent citizens have appeared before it and given very insightful information regarding the land issues in this country and for some, their areas of origin. When I schemed through the list, none of them (so far) comes from Teso or is articulating land matters from the sub-region. I have seen Lawyer Peter Mulira, Robert Kalundi Serumaga, MP Alex Ruhunda (and other elders from Tooro) and heads of government entities.
Commission Chair Hon Justice Catherine Bamugemereire (Photo: Judiciary Website)
This triggered my mind to wonder who is thinking for my Teso sub-region. Here is why. Of recent, land conflicts in Teso have escalated thus creating huge social rifts among individual community members, families, clans, religious bodies, and public institutions. Just like in other parts of the country, most of the criminal cases (domestic violence, murder, assault, criminal trespass, etc) in the justice system stem from or are connected to land. We have lost people because of land conflicts. I know of families that have been broken down because of land.
The Commission’s Terms of Reference
This begs the question: Is someone thinking for Teso? Are any of our leaders organizing themselves to appear before this Commission and share the Teso experience on land matters? What of the NGOs in the sub-region? What is the Iteso Cultural Union planning? Are the rural Iteso (most of whom are victims of land conflicts) even aware that this process is on-going?
The Commission still has time, I just need to be sure that something is being done and if not, what can be done in the remaining time. We need to discuss this matter and plan how to represent the sub-region on such an important platform which may form a basis for future legislation or policy making on land matters.
If you know a leader from Teso, sound them up and ask about this important issue.