The chairperson of Acholi Parliamentary Group has renewed calls for regional tier system of government as one of the means to address the rowing disputes over land ownership and management northern Uganda.
Reagan Okumu, also the Member of Parliament for Aswa County says government should fast track the implementation of the tier government to help address challenges affecting different regions of the country.
Okumu believes that adopting the regional tier system of government would help to address the numerous land conflicts that are threatening the post-war recovery of northern Uganda.
According to Okumu, the absence of regional tier government has given conducive atmosphere for differential leadership ideologies to thrive and cripple development.
Retired Bishop of Kitgum Macleod Baker Ochola, in a telephone interview with Uganda Radio Network supported the call for regional tier system of government.
He says when implemented the system will promote national unity, enhance lobbying capacity and collective development.
The regional tier system of governance is provided for in Article 178 (1) of the 1995 constitution.
It says two or more districts may cooperate to form a regional government to perform the functions and services specified in the fifth schedule of constitution.
Okumu says the provision has remained in the country’s law book and urged the different regions of the country to rise up and demand for operationalization of the system of governance.
Speaking to journalists in Gulu, Okumu urged government to review the approach it has taken to acquire land in Acholi sub region to reduce confrontation with government.
He cited some of the disputes involving government as Acol Pii land dispute in Pader district where the Ministry of defense is claiming an estimated 10,000 square Kilometers of land for establishment of the 5th Division garrison.
The others are Lakang and Apaa in Amuru district which he says government is playing a land brokering responsibility and threatening to forcefully evict hundreds of civilians in disregard of court rulings.
He said Amuru women who stripped in front of ministers; Aronda Nyakairima (Internal Affairs) and Daudi Migereko (Lands) were right and “whoever is criticising them should put themselves in the shoes of the individuals who were on the verge of losing the only valuable asset”.
According to him, the women had to either commit suicide or strip naked in order to protect their land.
Okumu says he will table the matter before Parliament as the country heads for the 2016 general elections.
Norbert Mao, Democratic Party president has been a long-time advocate of the regional tier system of governance in Uganda.
Richard Todwong, the Nwoya County Member of Parliament doubts the power of regional government in solving land disputes since it works on the principle of decentralization.
He says the solution of the numerous land disputes in Acholi region lies in understanding and addressing the underlying causes of the conflicts by the central government.