Enough Of This Bacwezi Nonsense! Museveni Sets Touch Conditions For Arrogant Nomadic ‘Balaalo’!

Enough Of This Bacwezi Nonsense! Museveni Sets Touch Conditions For Arrogant Nomadic ‘Balaalo’!

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By Andrew Irumba

Kampala: HE.Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has proposed her punishments against nomadic pastoralists whom he calls ”Balaalo” over their ‘indiscipline and inconsiderate acts’ against hard working crop farmers by allowing cattle to smash their crops.

”The necessary laws should be amended to provide for imprisonment (possibly 5 years) and the confiscation and auctioning of the cattle involved in this endemic indiscipline,” he says.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Robina Nabbanja, Museveni says these Balaalo who are either non-Ugandans coming from neighbouring countries or undisciplined Ugandans trek from one region to another to occupy on people’s lands mostly crop farmers and leave their herds to smash crops something he says should not be tolerated any more.

”I am writing to you in connection with the endless problems created by indisciplined and inconsiderate actors known as Balaalo. These are cattle owners from Ankole, Rwanda, Congo, etc. move their cattle around different parts of Uganda, allowing their cattle to trample on people’s crops (kwonesa) and also generating political misunderstandings among the Ugandan communities. Some of the Balaalo being Banyankore or Banyarwaanda, the traditional inhabitants of Ankole, the victim communities on account of their indiscipline, erroneously think that the Government, is the one encouraging them to commit aggression against other communities,” says Museveni in the letter to Nabbanja adding, ”These people have no moral right nor justification to do what they are doing.”

Museveni says when he took power in 1986, his government decided to end the problem of land for, at least the cattle-keeping group by giving them free land in ranches according to the number of cattle every one had.

He says lands that were given to these Balaalo were in the Ankole-Masaka Ranching Scheme (Nyaabushozi and Lyantonde), Ssembabule, Ssingo, Buruuli and Masindi. A total of 207 cattle owners without land were givern land. There was nobody who had cattle but did not get land that remained unattended to in the Ankole – Bweera (Ssembabule- Lyantoonde) Gomba-Ssingo-Buruuli-Masindi area.

”When the NRM came to power in 1986, we decided to end land problem for, at least the cattle-keeping group. Fortunately, the Government had grabbed traditional land and turned it into ranches that it had given to the elite who had failed to fulfil the covenants of the lease agreements. We, therefore, restructured the ranches and called everybody that had cattle but no land to come and be given land according to the number of cattle he had,” he says.

”Therefore, these Balaalo still practicing nomadic nomadism and allowing their cattle to smash people’s crops are either non-Ugandans coming from neighbouring countries or indisciplined Ugandans that sold the land we gave them and are now disturbing other Ugandans,” says Museveni.

As a result of acts these indisciplined Balaalo therefore, Museveni has ordered that cattle should not be moved from one place to another unless permitted by Local Government authorities (Parish Chiefs) by first confirming that the land these Balaalo are moving to occupy they legally bought it and is fenced with enough water for their animals.

Museveni’s Letter

”Without ensuring that the cattle of the migrant will not kwonesa (eat the crops of the neighbours, a legal basis for granting him a cattle movement purpose does not exist. This is not to speak of simply invading the private lands of others or the land of the Government,” he says.

In the same vein, the President has ordered that all the Balaalo that had illegally occupied Northern Uganda and giving sleepless nights to crop farmers be given two months to leave the region if they can’t fulfil the above conditions.

”Therefore, those Balaalo should be given 2 months to leave the whole of the North unless they prove that they fulfil the minimum conditions stated above: lease or buy land but also have it fenced very securely before the introduction of cattle thereon and also with water within the land,” says Museveni adding that he has formed a committee to implement the above directives.

”I have formed a three (3) person committee comprising of: Hon. David Muhoozi, Hon. Bwogo Engola and Hon. Col. Bright Rwamirama to implement this directive. To be held accountable are the following: RDC, Gombolola Chiefs, Miruka Chiefs and Veterinary staffs in all the affected areas,” he adds.

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