Three teams to meet President Museveni on Balaalo (Banyangkole cattle keepers)
Richard Santo Apire, the Interim paramount chief’s position said Balaalo must leave Acholi land following President Museveni Executive Order on. 3, June 28, 2023, contrary Gen. Salim Saleh
The Lamwo Residence District Commissioner (RDC), calls for calm from his people that they should not panic that there will be another war in Acholi Sub Region on the issue of the Balaalo eviction, warning that his office is investigating five families who are keeping Balaalo cattle.
“My office is investigating the five families who are looking after the cattle of Balaalo, and after my investigation, I will hand over those families to Ker Kal Kwaro (Acholi cultural Institution) Literally the office of Acholi chiefdom supposed to handle the matter since they chased all the Balaalo from Lamwo district a year ago. Robinson Ocheng, the RDC of Lamwo warns.
GULU CITY-TUESDAY, October 17, 2023.
Richard Santo Apire, the Interim Paramount Chief of Acholi (Lawirwodi) and Chief Justice (CJ) Alphonse Owiny Dollo Cigamoi and other 7 members including Rwot Collin Atiko, Rwot Ociti Binyi, are heading to meet President Museveni today in Kampala over the Balaalo eviction from Acholi land.
Rwot Richard Santo Apire position and other 42 chiefs want Balaalo to leave Acholi land following President Museveni’s presidential Executive Order No, 3 of June 2023, that give a directive to evict all Balaalo from Acholi land, and those who are purported to have bought land in Acholi sub-region should have their land title cancelled.
“We have disassociated ourselves from the verification carried out by dubious characters of Acholi leaders being sponsored by Gen. Salim Saleh. No verification must take place at this time, all Balaalo must go” The interim Deputy Paramount Chief Rwot John Ogenga of Labongo Amida chiefdom warns.
Rwot John Ogenga pleaded with President Museveni to stand with them against the extension of the deadline by Gen. Salim Saleh.
He added that there is human trafficking taking place in Apaa, where thousands of foreign people of various nationalities are being enrooted to Apaa. This according security check point entrance point to Apaa. Most of those people are from Burundi and Rwanda being ferried to Apaa.
“We condemn human trafficking that is taking place in Apaa, Amuru district. According to Uganda security at Apaa roadblock, thousands of foreign nationalities are being ferried to Apaa and we have asked government to remove this Apaa newcomers, because we don’t know their intention for those mass movements into Apaa. Every check point into Gulu City and Apaa have been intercepting foreign nationals. At the moment security have decided to stop them, but as matter of fact, security can be dubious” Rwot Ogenga warns.
He revealed that, on his courtesy tour to Apaa, he met Col. David Koch, the current Bridge Commanding officer in Apaa, he cautioned him that although President Museveni deployed him with the interest to protect the Uganda national interest, being son of the soil, Acholi eyes are on him.
Whatsoever, he is doing on record, the issues of Apaa, the national security of the state lie on Apaa issue, and this can spark yet another civil strife.
Meanwhile, other Acholi leaders heading to meet President Museveni today include the Groups of Acholi Parliamentary Group (AGP) headed by Hon. Akol Anthony, the member of parliament (MP) for Kilak North. Also, other leaders from Acholi like the District Chairmen, Local Government officials from the 9 Acholi districts including Gulu City Mayor Alfred Okwanga are scheduled to meet President Museveni on Balaalo eviction from Acholi land.
No more war in Acholi land just because of Balaalo
Lamwo Residence District Commissioner, calls for calm from his people that they should not worry that there will be another war in Acholi sub-region as a result of the Balaalo eviction. Warning that his office is investigating five families who are keeping Balaalo cattle.
“My office is investigating the five families who are looking after the cattle of Balaalo, and after my investigation, I will hand over those families to Acholi cultural institution (Ker Kal Kwaro) Literally, the office of Acholi chiefdom is supposed to handle since they sent away all the Balaalo from Lamwo district a year ago. Robinson Ocheng, the RDC of Lamwo warns.
He added that there are some people within the community of Abera Sub-County who have reached secret agreements with the Balaalo, but soon we are smoking them out.
Oryemo-mony, a residence of Palabek Gem said some section of community in Acholi are having nightmares on behalf of the Balaalo people. He reasoned that this treatment emanates from the Balaalo as, reasoning that the Balaalo problem has been engineered by Opiyo Christopher Ateker, the Gulu District Local Councilor V Chairman, who told President Museveni during the re-burial of the former Uganda Army killed in cold blood during Obote 1 government in 1970 at Palaro Labworomor, the late Brigadier Pierino Okoya that Balaalo does not cause any danger to the community of Gulu District.
“It’s Opiyo Christopher Ateker, The Chairman Gulu District Local Government Council V, who told President Museveni that the people of Gulu District don’t have problem with Balaalo, they even given us eight cattle for the celebration of this ceremony, the people here are very happy Mr. President to host Balaalo.” Opiyo Ateker reasoning.
Geoffrey Okot, a teacher at Crested Crane Secondary School in Gulu City is of the view that the Balaalo must leave Acholi land and follow President Museveni Executive Order mo. 3 of June 28,2023. Because the way they enter Acholi sub-region was contrary to the Ministry of Veterinary and Animal Industry. We could have allowed them to stay if they have been entering Acholi sub-region following the Veterinary Law and they are grazing their animals in people farms.
Secondly, the Balaalo first went to the countryside, taking advantage of the rural poor people, where they entered into agreements of hiring land from them, and later disowned the agreement. They went ahead to falsify freehold land title to grabbed our land.
Thirdly, the Balaalo has taken over the land of the host community that gave their land turning them into slaves or workers on their own land. This is part of master plan to alienate Acholi community.
Fourth, the issue of Balaalo of rapping young girls and older women, including wives, cannot be taken lightly, now Balaalo must go back to where they have come from.
“We have reliable information that the Balaalo are killing host communities during their grazing, and raiding the few animals from the areas they are living in. Should they fail to obey President Museveni’s presidential directive/ Executive order no 3, they must be forced to flee Acholi land.” Okot warns.
Ajoka Francis, who hails from Katakwi district of Eastern Uganda, also agreed that the Balaalo must leave Acholi land and find their level when the deadline expires on October 20, 2023.
“Because our population is growing, the land is not growing, but they are occupying land that belongs to the dead, unborn generations and the living one.” Ajoka insisted.
He added that the government should relocate them elsewhere and compensate them from Ministry of Land consolidated funds, or the money they claimed they have bought with land.
Lukang Komakech, from Gulu City, Lamogi Ber, a bus terminal in Gulu city, gave his opinion that the Balaalo must go. Based on the Acholi traditional cultural norms, incest among Acholi community is a taboo but the Balaalo have sex with their first cousins, nephews, brothers and sisters including In-laws. Acholi just recovering from the long conflict, we need to educate our people who suffered during the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) war, because their action is a moral decadent in Acholi. Don’t you think it is a cultural breakdown to destroy the rich Acholi culture? Lukang asked.
“Balaalo must go, they are not citizens of Uganda, and Uganda constitution is very clear, stating that foreigners are not allowed to buy land in Uganda, beside that Acholi land is under customary ownership, it cannot be sold. If they came all along the way from Northern Tanzania, how do they make their way here up to Acholi land? Do they fly, if they are Balaalo of Rwanda origin or Eastern DR. Congo, let them go back to Eastern DR Congo, which is a rich land and with vast areas, what do they want here? if they failed to follow the deadline, they will be treated accordingly as they are “aggressors.”
Opio Tony, a student at Gulu University, faculty of Medicine agreed with President Museveni’s directive, although the deadline, 20th, October 2023, is around the clock.
“Balaalo must go because since Museveni gave the deadline, if the death line is over, they must leave as per President Museveni directive.”