Museveni Bans Balaalo From Settling In Northern Uganda
President Museveni has issued an explicit order banning the settlement or any activities done by Balaalo pastoralists from northern Uganda.
In executive order number three of 2023 given under powers given to him 99(2) of the Constitution, the president says the ban takes immediate effect.
“I therefore completely ban the illegal presence of Balaalo in Northern Uganda. This doesn’t mean the Balaalo, like other Ugandans cannot buy land and settle in Northern Uganda. However, on account of the two mistakes, that right cannot be enjoyed,” Museveni said in the order, dated May, 19.
“By the authority of this Executive Order, no Mulaalo should settle and bring cattle to settle and bring cattle to Northern Uganda except with the permission of the Minister of Lands and Minister of Agriculture.”
According to the president, the Balaalo whom he described as being undisciplined have caused so much damage in Northern Uganda which needs to be dealt away with.
He explained that these nomads from Ankole areas, especially Mpororo, ancient Bunyoro, parts of DRC, Karagwe in Tanzania and Rwanda move from their traditional areas to other areas of Uganda but illegally.
“Having learnt the techniques of some modern farming in the cattle corridor, they come to acquire land in the areas of Uganda that have not been their traditional areas like Acholi, Lango and Teso. The problem is that they come to those areas illegally or manipulatively,” Museveni said in the order.
He noted that the Balaalo claim to have bought the land they occupy but noted this can’t be true because land in Northern Uganda is communally owned, with no one legally allowed to sell it to anybody without the permission of the clan.
These sales, the president says are therefore null and void.
“Secondly, even if they were to be legally owning the land, nobody should bring livestock to an area if he has not fenced the land and provided water, otherwise that livestock will commit the sin of trampling the crops of the locals.
The president says whereas the Balaalo can take cattle or settle in Northern Uganda with permission from the ministries of lands and also agriculture, this can only be done if the issue of fencing of land for the cattle and issue of ownership is resolved.
“I therefore direct all government agencies to ensure that these Balaalo are expelled from the indicated areas by the end of June, 2023.”
Museveni also directed the Attorney General to work on a law criminalizing nomadism where one convicted could spend seven years in prison for taking cattle to Northern Uganda illegally.
This is the umpteenth time that President Museveni is banning the Balaalo from Northern Uganda.
Whereas the president previously banned them, he didn’t issue an executive order as he has done this time round.
It remains to be seen if the order will be followed to the latter.
Locals and their leaders in several district of Northern Uganda have for several years complained of the presence of Balaalo pastoralists in their areas whose animals stray to other people’s farms destroying property including crops.