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Land Board Turns Down Communal Land Bid by Acholi Chief

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Evidence before the Commission shows that the district land board declined to approve the lease application, on grounds that Bwobo clan could lose its right over the land.
The Bwobo clan Chief, Rwot Michael Ojok Aginya II appearing before the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters.

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Nwoya District land board turned down an application by the Rwot Michael Ojok Aginya II, the Chief of Bwobo clan to secure a lease for 6000 acres of communal land.

Aginya told the Justice Catherine Bamugemeirere Commission on Tuesday that he applied for the land title as a trustee but the Land board thought it was appropriate to register the land under an association.

Evidence before the Commission shows that the district land board declined to approve the lease application, on grounds that Bwobo clan could lose its right over the land.

The Commission has also received petitions from Nwoya District Land Board, Ker Bwobo Land Development Trust and Bwobo clan.

Amuru District Land Board had offered Ker Bwobo Land Development Trust a 49-year lease on Block 2, Plot 29 in Nwoya for commercial and plantation farming dated May 1, 2013.

The offer was made before the Nwoya District Land Board was constituted. However, Amuru district referred the file to Nwoya District Land Board when it came into force.

In his testimony to the Land Commission, Aginya said the most contentious areas are Paibwor, Nyamukino, and Got-Okwara villages, which pushed him to process a lease title. Aginya told the Commission Lead Counsel, Ebert Byenkya that sinister schemes on the land started in 2006, when government assured people in Internally Displaced People's camps the Lord's Resistance Army-LRA fighters led by Joseph Kony had been defeated and weakened.

According to Aginya, government encouraged people to return to their ancestral land but many didn't heed and proceeded to occupy empty land and made huge benefits from the lucrative trade.

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Byenkya referred Aginya to the Land Act, which champions the role of land associations as compared to trusts. He questioned why Aginya never considered a communal land association as provided for under Section 15 of the Land Act for communal ownership of land and chose a trust something that has raised other complaints from the Bwobo community.

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Aginya declined to comment on the question, saying he needs to consult on the matter.