Balaalo Eviction: Govt issues guidelines on implementation of Presidential directive

Northern Uganda: The government of Uganda has issued guidelines to be followed by administrators in districts in the Northern Region as they move to implement the presidential directive on evicting the cattle migrants known as Balaalo.

President Museveni, in Executive Order No. 3 of 2023, directed that all Balaalo, that were illegally occupying land in the North and North-Eastern Region, be evicted. The Eviction, initially set for implementation in October was pushed to November 25th, 2023, with the deadline now overdue.

In the report on the verification exercise to guide the implementation of Museveni’s directive, districts in the affected regions have been directed to form special task forces to oversee the implementation of the Balaalo eviction. Only Packwachi has instituted a special task force so far.

All Balaalo that land land titles, and those that acquired land illegally, that is; Without consent, acquired land in protected areas or through manipulation, are to be evicted and their land titles cancelled. However, all Balaalo that acquired the land legally will remain occupying their land.

“The Balaalo who acquired the land legally and have met all legal requirements for harmonious coexistence with the community be allowed to continue staying on their land,” the directive reads in part.

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The government is also yet to put in place security mechanisms to prevent the entry of Balaalo in the two sub-regions, such as limiting the movement of cattle.

In regards to compensating the Balaalo, the government, through the local council plans to engage residents in the two sub-regions to resolve pending conflicts and compensate farmers, whose crops were destroyed by animals belonging to the Balaalo.

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The government has also committed itself, through the chief valuer and district land boards, to set minimum land rates to protect locals from manipulation.

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