Section of women across Uganda last week Friday gathered in Awei Sub-county in Alebtong district and launched a campaign that will see millet especially (cooked one) being used as a symbol of fighting land grabbing in the country.
Ms. Jacqueline Nange a resident of Benet Sub-county in Kween district, Sebei sub-region who spoke on behalf of over 200 women during the launch say, they (women) have for long been oppressed in attempts to stop land grabbing in their communities.
The campaign was characterized by cultural doings like dancing, eating traditional food and, marching while holding banners with words: ‘Eat millet; protect our Land’ and another one written ‘National Land Defence League’, among others.
The women further vowed to fight land grabbers who heartlessly and illegally evict vulnerable families from their land in pretense of bringing development near them.
The women under their umbrella association National Land Defence League (NLDF) accused politicians, companies (investors), Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) and Uganda Wildlife Authority of being prominent land grabbers in the country.
“We are facing challenges with oil companies, UPDF, politicians and Uganda Wildlife Authority who are grabbing our land,” Ms. Nange said.
“In the City, towns and villages, the government and its business colleagues are abusing power and attempting to grab the smallest assets we are left with,” she added.
Lately, Mr. Wilson Azuma, the production officer in Apaa Parish, alleged that about 500 huts were razed down while properties worth millions of shillings were also destroyed during the forceful eviction of Apaa residents in May this year.
“Many of our people are sleeping in the cold; they have nothing left because the soldiers carrying out evictions never allowed them to carry anything. We need urgent help from the government,” Mr Azuma said.
Ms. Lona Nsinagambe, a resident of Kanungu district explained that they opted to use millet to show solidarity in fight against land grabbing.
“Land grabbing has been a problem in all corners of Uganda and that’s why we thought of organizing ourselves to fight land grabbing. As women, we have organized Kalo (mingled millet flour) …it is a sign of unity and togetherness in fight against land grabbing,” Nsinagambe explained.
According to the beleaguered women, the alleged land grabbers many of whom are elites shall not be allowed to eat millet (mingled kalo) at any public functions countrywide.
“We will be camping anywhere in this country where vulnerable people are being evicted from their land,” Nsinagambe added.
She also says there is another campaign aimed at telling those dealing in outside catering services, hotels and restaurant to stop serving millet food to land grabbers.
Nsinagambe added that they will soon publicize names of land grabbers, what they do and were they live to the public.
The hundreds of women who spoke with one voice were picked from Sebei, Acholi, Lango and Teso Sub-regions with support from Action Alliance Uganda, a nonprofit organization in Uganda.