President Museveni has given a group of marauding cattle keepers, commonly known as “Balaalo”, two months to leave northern Uganda.
According to the president, the group consists of non-Ugandans mostly from Rwanda and Congo and Ugandans from Ankole, whom he says have been moving their cattle around different parts of Uganda while invading other people’s land.
In a letter dated November 2 to the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, Museveni pointed out that the actors he labeled ‘indisciplined’ have generated political misunderstandings among other Ugandan communities something he says his government cannot tolerate.
“These people have no moral right nor justification to do what they are doing. Why? The NRM never forgets anybody,” Museveni said in the letter.
In the letter, Museveni noted that after coming to power, the NRM restructured ranches and gave everybody that had cattle but no land, land according to the number of cattle they had. These according to the president included; Ankole-Masaka Ranching, Scheme (Nyabushozi and Lyantonde), Ssembabule, Ssingo, Buruuli and Masindi.
“Therefore, these Balaalo are either non-Ugandans coming from neighbouring countries or indisciplined Ugandans that sold the land we gave them and are now disturbing other Ugandans. They should, therefore, not be tolerated,” Museveni noted.
Museveni directed that there should be no movement of cattle without local government authorities’ approval.
He also noted that whether the cattle owners buy or lease land, they have to only move cattle to that land only if it has water within it or fenced securely to prevent the cattle from trampling on the crops of others.
“Without ensuring that the cattle of the migrant will not eat the crops of the neighbours, a legal basis of granting him a cattle movement purpose does not exist,” he wrote.
“Therefore, those Balaalo should be given 2 months to leave the whole of the north unless they prove that they fulfill the minimum conditions stated above.”
Museveni added that the necessary laws should be amended to provide for imprisonment (possibly 5 years) and the confiscation and auctioning of the cattle involved the illegal actions.
To oversee the implementation of this directive, the president has formed a three-person committee comprising of David Muhoozi, Bwogo Engola and Col. Bright Rwamirama.