Today 27th March 2019, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu together with the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority Mr Mwandha Sam appeared before the Select Committee established to look into the Apaa land Conflict .
Hon Ephraim Kamuntu noted that the Apaa conflict has its history in the Colonial period. He highlighted that in 1911, the British government drew administrative boundaries between Moyo (Adjumani) and then Gulu District from which Amuru District was carved in 2006. However, the area around Apaa was by then infested with Tse-Tse flies and the communities in the area that owned land communally and had hunting grounds vacated the area for health reasons.
The Minister further observed that in 1963, Uganda Game Department took a decision to amend statutory instrument Number 17 which gazetted Kilak Controlled Hunting ground for licensed gun holders. He revealed that the regime of Idi Amin issued a Legal Order No. 54 of 1972 revoking the decision on the Kilak Controlled Hunting Area in what came to be known as Kilak Hunting Area Revocation Order of 1972. This later led to the passing of a resolution in 1973 allowing residents of Apaa to return and occupy their ancestral land
Hon. Kamuntu reported that he had visited the land in Apaa and that the conflict appeared to have shifted from a land row and to adopting a political face. This is because there were allegations in both among the locals and intelligence, that the political representatives of the areas affected, were fuelling the conflict for their selfish gains. The minister disclosed that they had obtained the colonial map, and clearly the land in contestation is located in Adjumani district, the political leadership and some local are disputing.
Mr Mwandha Sam, the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority called upon the Committee to first interest itself in identifying which district Apaa land belong. This is largely because, once the said issue is settled, and then most of the contentious issues will be easy to address.
RESPONSE FROM THE COMMITTEE.
Hon. Agnes Ameedes was interested in knowing what would be the most appropriate way the select committee would work towards getting a long lasting solution to the problem. In response, Hon Ephraim Kamuntu noted that it was important for the committee to engage and actively involve the cultural, religious and political leaders in resolving the conflict.
The committee also asked the Minister that there were allegations that the first deputy prime minister Hon. Moses Ali was directly involved in inciting the conflict, they were interested in knowing what his thoughts were. In response Hon. Kamuntu noted that to the best of his knowledge, he could not give any response to that, neither could he verify the allegation.
The chair to the Committee, Hon Agnes Ameedes thanked Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) for the interaction and asked them to respond positively in future in case the committee would need any clarity.