By Spy Uganda
For days now, the Director of Operations at Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), Sylvia Owori has been in news over allegations of using her powers and security guards to harass and intimidate residents of the Nyangore sub-county in Tororo district with an aim of allegedly grabbing their ‘hard-earned’ land.
The matter came to the limelight after Tororo Woman Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Sarah Opendi, also former minister presented it on the floor of parliament last week, where she alleged that residents had reported to her that Owori reportedly grabbed over 90 acres of their land with the help of armed security officers.
“The residents are living in fear due to the continued harassment, provocation, intimidation and sometimes attacks. Owori has already displaced some families, fenced-off compounds and gardens of crops, and continues to encroach on other lands under the watch of her armed security officers,” claimed Opendi on the floor of Parliament during the sitting of 19 May 2022.
Opendi further noted that Owori’s armed officers had allegedly inflicted injuries on innocent residents who were found working in their gardens and some collecting firewood on the land that Owori claims to be hers. Not only that, but she also claimed that Owori shut down Heroes Foundation Primary School blocking teachers and students from accessing it.
Following Hon. Opendi’s petition, the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among directed the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba to intervene and take action against the alleged harassment and illegal eviction.
“In the interim, as the Committee of Physical Infrastructure handles that issue, the minister must go and put a temporary measure to stop army men from beating our people,” Among ordered.
However, when our reporter contacted Ms Owori for a comment on the matter, she noted that Opendi ”is a reckless Member of Parliament” who is tarnishing her ‘good name’ out of fear that she [Owori] may oust her from parliament anytime soon.
”That MP is in panic, she is now thinking that am planning to stand against her, so, out of envy, she is just tarnishing my name. She is an area MP, ask her whether she has reported this matter to Resident District Commissioner (RDC) or to the police” she said.
Owori further claimed that people being used by Opendi are those that killed her grandfather in 1942 in the battle for the ownership of the controversial land.
She adds, ”So when my grandfather died, the land was left in the hands of my father George William Owori, but again these same people paid some goons and murdered him as well in 1980 and on burial, these same people appeared with guns, so out of fear of what would happen to us next, we run away to Kampala till recently when I went back to fight for what belonged to my parents. So these are the people Opendi is backing.”
Meanwhile, Owori has since warned Opendi to prepare for a deadly court battle for tarnishing her name just for political gains.
”In fact, let her be warned, am going to sue her. This matter is in court, why is she running to parliament to tarnish my name yet she knows matters are in court and the process is going on very well legally, she is just a reckless member of parliament who doesn’t trust courts of law. By the way that’s how people destroy other people’s names, now imagine if I didn’t have a voice, let her be warned…!” Owori fumed.
Meanwhile, in response to Owori’s allegations, Opendi says; “The people affected petitioned the Speaker through the area MP Emmanuel Otala. The matter was then placed on the order paper. Parliament is where people’s voices are raised. Let’s wait for the committee to investigate and report back together with the Minister.”