President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has announced an extension of the deadline for the implementation of Executive Order Number 3 in northern Uganda. The new deadline for evicting cattle keepers from the region is now October 20, 2023. This decision was communicated by Grace Freedom Kwiyocwiny, the Northern Uganda State Minister, during a press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister in Gulu City.
This marks the second time that President Museveni has adjusted the deadline for the eviction of pastoralists. Originally, Executive Order Number 3 of 2023 had mandated the eviction to be completed by June 30th. The order was issued due to concerns about disrespectful pastoralists allowing their animals to graze in people’s gardens, leading to food insecurity. Additionally, the order prohibited commercial charcoal trade due to environmental concerns.
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 implementation of the Executive Order until September 30, 2023.
During the period from June to September, an inter-ministerial technical committee, chaired by Prof. Jack Nyeko Pen Mogi, and deputized by Anthony Akol, engaged in consultations with various leaders to gain a better understanding of the issues contained in the Executive Order.
After these consultations, a meeting was convened at the Office of the Prime Minister in Gulu on Saturday to discuss the committee’s recommendations. During the meeting, Gen. Saleh requested additional time to implement the executive order. Kwiyocwiny, while announcing the extension of the deadline, stated that President Museveni needed time to review the report of the inter-ministerial technical committee before deciding on the next steps.
Kwiyocwiny emphasized that a clear consensus had been reached to implement the executive order after three key actions were completed: registering and verifying all pastoralists, developing movement plans for those to be evicted, and addressing the legal implications of evicting those who had legally acquired land.
In the coming week, preparations will be made to establish the budget, assess personnel requirements, and manage logistics for the implementation of the executive order, which will involve multiple ministries and agencies. The extension of the deadline aims to ensure a peaceful eviction process while considering the broader economic implications.
Gen. Salim Saleh stressed the importance of executing the executive order correctly to avoid further complications. He noted that despite the readiness to proceed with the eviction, logistical and personnel arrangements were still lacking.
Francis Akorikin, the chairperson of Kapelebyong district, suggested the need to audit land acquired by pastoralists to disqualify those who had fraudulently acquired it.
The operation to evict the pastoralists has been named “Operation Harmony.”