President Museveni has suggested the auctioning of impounded cattle owned by defiant migrant cattle keepers known as Balaalo. The funds generated from the auction would be allocated for the construction of schools in Northern Uganda, according to a letter received by Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo Chigamoy.
Addressing journalists via Zoom regarding the eviction of cattle keepers from the Acholi Sub-region, Justice Owiny-Dollo revealed that some cattle keepers were fleeing forceful eviction, abandoning their cattle in the process.
The President’s letter, which also reached the Chief of Defence Forces Gen Wilson Mbadi, indicated the readiness of the Fourth Infantry Division headquarters to commence the eviction. The proposed plan involves the army confiscating abandoned cattle for auction, with the proceeds intended for building schools, pending approval from the Attorney General.
Justice Owiny-Dollo emphasized that the region’s leaders are actively following up on Presidential Executive Order No.3 for the eviction of Balaalo cattle keepers to ensure its implementation.
Museveni’s proposals follow an ultimatum issued nearly two weeks prior, where non-compliant cattle keepers were instructed to vacate North and Northeastern Uganda by November 24. The President had directed cattle keepers to provide water sources for their animals and establish strong fences.
Security forces, comprising the army and police, recently initiated the eviction of defiant cattle keepers in the Acholi Sub-region. Notably, 257 herds of cattle were evicted from Palaro Sub County in Gulu District, and 259 herds were removed from Atiak Sub-County, Amuru District.
However, concerns have arisen over the reluctance of evicted cattle farmers to relocate their animals. Kenneth Okot, LCIII Chairperson of Atiak Town Council, reported that logistical support from the government is lacking for eviction in the greater Atiak Sub-County.
Cosmas Okidi, the acting Resident District Commissioner Gulu, mentioned during a radio talk show that they are currently dealing with over 200 herds of confiscated cattle. Some cattle keepers have refused to pick up their animals, hindering the eviction process.
State Minister for Northern Uganda Rehabilitation Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny previously disclosed that approximately 80,000 herds of cattle in northern Uganda belong to non-compliant migrant cattle keepers who have not fenced their land and lack adequate grazing land and water sources.