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President Extends Deadline for Cattle Keeper Eviction in Northern Uganda

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president extends deadline for cattle keeper eviction in northern uganda
president extends deadline for cattle keeper eviction in northern uganda
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President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has extended the deadline for removing cattle keepers from northern Uganda to October 20, 2023. The announcement came from Grace Freedom Kwiyocwiny, the Northern Uganda State Minister, during a press conference in Gulu City. This marks the second time the president has adjusted the eviction deadline.

On May 19th, 2023, President Museveni issued Executive Order Number 3 of 2023, which aimed to prohibit cattle keeping in northern Uganda by June 30th. The order cited issues such as disrespectful behavior by some pastoralists and their animals grazing in people’s gardens, leading to food security concerns. Additionally, the order banned commercial charcoal trade due to its environmental impact.

However, upon the request of Gen. Salim Saleh, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Defence and Chief Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), President Museveni postponed the enforcement of the Executive Order until September 30, 2023. During this period, an inter-ministerial technical committee, led by Prof. Jack Nyeko Pen Mogi and deputized by Anthony Akol, engaged in consultations with various leaders to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issues addressed in the Executive Order.

After these consultations, a meeting was held in Gulu on Saturday to present the committee’s recommendations. Gen. Saleh requested more time to implement the order. Kwiyocwiny, when announcing the deadline extension, mentioned that President Museveni needed time to review the committee’s report before determining the next steps.

Kwiyocwiny explained that during the consultations, consensus was reached on implementing the Executive Order. However, several prerequisites must be met before execution, including the registration and verification of pastoralists, planning for their relocation, and assessing the legal implications of evicting those who had legally acquired land.

In the coming week, preparations will begin to establish the budget, personnel, and logistics necessary to implement the Executive Order. This process will involve multiple ministries and agencies. The extension of the deadline aims to ensure a peaceful implementation while considering the broader economic consequences of evicting pastoralists.

Gen. Salim Saleh emphasized the importance of executing the order correctly to prevent further issues. He highlighted the absence of logistics and personnel for the eviction despite apparent readiness.

Francis Akorikin, the chairperson of Kapelebyong district, proposed an audit of land acquired by pastoralists to identify any fraudulent acquisitions.

The operation to evict pastoralists has been named “Operation Harmony.”