Acholis everywhere, and indeed all Ugandans and members of the international community that respect the sanctity of human life, must denounce the NRM orgy of land-grab, and help end Museveniâ€™s genocide against Acholis. The world must help in the liberation of Acholis from the concentration camps and ensure that the United Nations and other international organizations are involved in resettling Acholis.
[International Commentary: Uganda Land-Grab]
The Uganda ruling party National Resistance Movement’s (NRM’s) so-called “Recovery Program” or “Industrialization of Northern Uganda” is merely a ploy; dictatorial, criminal and brutal grabbing of Acholi Land. It must be resisted at all costs.
Acholi people and friends around the world have mobilized and will vehemently resist all attempts to grab Acholi Land and deprive Acholis now and in the future of their inalienable rights derived from the land. Any individual or state entity will be resisted–the NRM regime purportedly wants to create room for commercial farming and mineral exploitation at the expense of Acholi people’s lives.
The land-grab is unacceptable, whether carried out by Uganda nationals or foreigners, without communal agreement, in time of peace and security to all Acholi people. We condemn the land-grab as a form of economic terrorism. We call upon every Ugandan citizen to stand with the Acholi people and support them as they defend their land and attempt to return to their traditional homeland and individual homesteads, from whence they were forcefully herded into concentration camps by the NRM dictatorship.
Acholi Land does not belong to individuals or groups of a few people. The land is the responsibility of the entire Acholi community. Its protection and utilization rests in the supreme authority of Acholi culture, overseen by Acholi traditional leaders. There is no private ownership of land in Acholi, and hence, no sale or purchase of any piece of Acholi Land is possible. The Acholi people to that end know detailed geographical boundaries of their land. They will protect every inch of it, at all costs.
Any Acholi, whether a traditional leader or otherwise, cannot be a party to any scam to deprive Acholis of their land whether the proposed usage of the land is for commercial farming such as sugarcane production, or mining, while the vast majority remain detained in the concentration camps. Such “leaders” would be courting trouble.
There are also militarized Acholi sons and daughters, who are encouraging land-grabbing by the regime; these Acholis misuse their positions in the NRM dictatorship. The actions of such people are worse than those of other dictators; their booties are only temporary. They are committing unpardonable crimes against their own Acholi people.
The Acholi Association, an independent organization legally constituted, with set vision and clear objectives, does not recognize dictatorships that seize power by force of arms and employ deceit in governance, and even kills opponents.
The Acholi Association has never recognized the NRM regime in Uganda, or acknowledged Museveni as a genuinely elected Ugandan President. The Association considers the NRM to be a terrorist organization.
Moreover, Acholi Association, while working for the well-being of Acholi people in the United Kingdom and globally, is committed and obliged to resist the NRM regime’s draconian policy of land-grabbing of Acholi Land.
The NRM land-grab is a continuation of the policy to deprive Acholis of their inalienable right to their properties. For the last 21 years, the NRM has implemented a scorched-earth policy of repression and subjugation with intent to ethnically cleanse Acholi people from their traditional land; the current land-grab offers irrefutable evidence of the campaign against Acholis.
The NRM regime’s acts are in total contravention of the provisions and following protocols of the 1951 Geneva Convention and in defiance of the recent United Nations position report, validating ownership and the use of customary land worldwide, by its traditional owners.
That’s why we appeal to all concerned Acholi people and other genuine Ugandans, to join hands and stand shoulder to shoulder with Acholi people as they defend their land. Who knows what part of the country the regime will next turn its land-grab campaign.
The Acholi Association has convened a number of meetings, seminars and conferences on Acholi Land during the period of the current conflict in Uganda and have resolved:
 Every inch of traditional Acholi Land belongs to Acholi cultural community.
 Any use of Acholi Land that threatens Acholi cultural sovereignty is suspended.
 Future re-organization of re-settlements when peace is restored, will be done after an Acholi conference, organized and attended by Acholi cultural and political leadership.
 Economic use of Acholi Land is not a priority while peace and security still does not exist in Acholi.
 No wealthy individuals, organizations, or governmental authority will be allowed to grab Acholi Land. Any attempts will be resisted by Acholi people, at all costs.
 Each and every Acholi is responsibly obliged to protect Acholi Land, at all costs.
 All Acholi Land forcefully taken during conflict will be returned with compensation
 No investments will be allowed on Acholi Land until Acholi people return to their traditional homesteads, to freely negotiate convenient terms, with investors.
 No unidentified structures will built on Acholi Land without prior consultation and agreement of Acholi cultural and political leaders
 Acholi Land is communal, not for sale or purchase; any body does so at his or her own risk.
 Major decisions on Acholi Land by individuals, traditional or political leaders will wait until peace and security restore, and Acholi people resettled.
 Extraction of minerals and oil in Acholi Land will only be done during time of peace.
 Global interest in Acholi Land will not supersede United Nations convention and position on customary/traditional land ownership.
The regime has clearly shown its priorities to the world; land-grab for commercial profits even as Acholis continue to suffer in concentration camps. We call upon all Ugandans to popularly demand the immediate dismantling of the death camps in Acholi. The camps are a shame and blight on all Ugandans.
Victims who have committed no crime –unless being born Acholi is a crime punishable by genocide– continue to die from HIV/AIDS, infected by Uganda government troops on the loose in the camps, together with NRM secret agents intentionally deployed to spread the disease. Acholis also die from manufactured famine in the camps.
Acholis everywhere, and indeed all Ugandans and members of the international community that respect the sanctity of human life, must denounce the NRM orgy of land-grab, and help end Museveni’s genocide against Acholis.
The world must help in the liberation of Acholis from the concentration camps and ensure that the United Nations and other international organizations are involved in resettling Acholis.
JC Amone is Chairman of Acholi Association, London, UK
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