A section of Members of Parliament from Adjumani district want Deputy Speaker of parliament Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanya to step down from the ad hoc committee investigating the Apaa land conflict.
President Yoweri Museveni on Monday this week appointed another committee headed by Hon. Jacob Oulanya to investigate the raging border dispute between the districts of Amuru and Adjumani.
Early last year Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda was in charge of another government committee handling the same matter but achieved no vivid results.
Addressing press today, Hon. Jessica Ababiku the Adjumani district legislator said although they deeply respect Oulanyah, they feel he is not a neutral arbitrator.
This she says is largely due to the fact that Oulanya belongs to one of the aggrieved parties (Acholi tribe) and therefore should remain an observer.
“I will request that right honorable deputy speaker steps aside. We want him to be an advisor to us and we shall not be a party to any meeting if he insists to sit on this committee as chair. I request that he remains a witness like others from across the region”, Ababiku said.
On his part, Hon. Dulu Angel Mark the Adjumani East MP citing a meeting held yesterday, said it was clear that the deputy speaker harbored interests in this matter.
Dulu claims there is a plot orchestrated by the deputy speaker to de-gazette the area for human settlement.
“He wants to use us to reduce East Madi wildlife reserve to a nearly controlled hunting area so that it suits his harbored interests. That means people can stay and settle there, freely”, he says.
In 2012, locals were forcefully evicted from this contested land, allegedly to pave way for one Mr. Martin Bruce a South African National who wanted to undertake trophy hunting.
Dulu says Oulanya cannot juggle two roles at ago; being the chair of this appendage and presiding debate in parliament.
On claims that Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Moses Ali has been fueling the conflict, Ababiku said people are merely using his name to propagate their selfish interests.
Measuring approximately 827 Square Kilometers, this land remains a contested area that borders Amuru and Adjumani districts.
Government claims the East Madi Wild life area was gazetted by Parliament as a protected area in 2002.
These legislators are of the view that this matter should be handled technically and not politically.
Government’s recently gave a directive stopping businesspeople from operating in Apaa Market which it said is in a protected area.
The market was shifted to Zoka Centre in Zoka Parish, about 10 kilometres inside Adjumani District, sparking off outrage.
In an April 10 letter written by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) warden-in-charge of East Madi Wildlife Reserve, Mr Tony Olinga Bogere, the traders were ordered to conduct their last businesses last Friday.