How Solicitor General’s legal opinions ‘saved Maruzi ranch’ after M7 directives

Mzee Yosam Odur Ebii who's the LCF Paramount Chief handing over a document to President Museveni at Golf Course in Lira three years ago. Looking on [M] is Dr Richard Nam - ex-Premier. File photo.

Had it not been for the legal opinions of Uganda’s Solicitor General, (12 square miles) parts of Maruzi Ranch in Maruzi County, Apac district would also be taken by another investor(s).

Alongside Maruzi, other ranches like Aswa, Nahaara and Ruhengye would also be affected.

This is contained in President’s letter dated 10th March, 2017 to Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, directing giveaway of 12 square miles of Maruzi ranch.

A Parliamentary Committee report of April, 2019 on giveaway of ranches in Uganda, with specific interest on Maruzi, Agriculture Minister told them (committee) it was a Presidential directive.

In his letter dated 10th March, 2017 Reference Number PO/4 entitled “M/S Gravity Investments Limited”, Museveni informed the Minister that he had agreed with Directors of Gravity Investments Limited government would allocate to them the following:

“12 square miles of land in Maruzi government ranch or any other area.”

4 acres of land from Kaweta, Bukalasa or Kawanda for food processing.”


However, President Museveni told Gravity directors that the ultimate ownership would remain with government, directing the line ministry to verify the availability of land in question and brief him.

Other investors

In another letter dated 9th, June 2017, President directed the Minister of Agriculture that part of the government ranches, example Aswa, Maruzi, Nahaara and Ruhengye be leased to individuals involved in breeding of Ankole Long Horned Cattle at a commercial level.

The individuals included: Emmanuel Kamihingo, Barnabas Tinkamanyire Numanya and Ankole Long Horned Cattle Breeders Cooperative Society.

However, the Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development (General Duties) was guided by legal opinions of the Solicitor General under letter reference ADM. 7/166/0l dated 26th October, 2Ol7 “the powers to lease out land of the ranches is vested in the Board of the User Agency” i.e. NAGRC&DB through a Board Resolution.


Progress on the giveaway of the ranches

In a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and
Fisheries, Hon. Ssempijja Vincent on 24th April, 2017, the Committee
halted the giveaway of the ranches until consultations had been made
with all the relevant district leaders and the communities neighbouring the ranches.

In spite of this, the board of NAGRC and DB went ahead and made allocations to the investors.

Maruzi ranch: Gravity Investments Limited has not yet surveyed the 12 square miles allocated to them.

“The land title of the ranch is in the names of Uganda Livestock Industries Limited; the former Chairperson of ULI Ltd approached the Minister together with his lawyer demanding that they come to an agreement by holding a meeting with him and Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development before he could hand over the land title,” report reads.

Nshaara ranch: Pastor Kakande Ministries (Mechanised Agro Uganda
Limited) which was allocated three thousand two hundred acres (3200) was chased away by the Public.

Mr. Emmanuel Kamihingo (Abeeki Company Limited) brought his animals and has started fencing off part of the ranch. They had been allocated one square mile but they have fenced off three square miles.

Aswa Ranch: Mr. Tinkamanyire Barnabas Nuwamanya (Banuti Ranchers Limited) had already occupied part of the ranch by the time the Committee halted the allocations.

Ruhengere Ranch: Mr. Eric Rutahingwa has not yet occupied Ruhengere ranch, report indicated.

In a meeting held on 14th February 2018, the Minister of State for
Agriculture (Animal Industry) informed the Committee that she called the manager of Nshaara ranch directing him to halt the giveaway of the ranches but her “directive was ignored”.

Speaking to TND News a couple of months ago, Bob Okae, the Apac district LC5 chairperson said “Maruzi ranch is for government and those occupying it should leave.”

Whereas Parliamentary report showed that some squatters were paid from (as low as) shillings 400,000, 200,000 and 100,000, Mr. Okae said then that “government won’t compensate them to avoid bloodshed”.

In the report, those quoted to have spearheaded compensations were RDC office, DISO office, UPDF, among other government “representatives” in Apac district.

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