Army Should Not Be Involved In Land Matters-Gen Museveni

President promises to write executive order

President Yower Museveni, has said the army should not be involved in land matters and has promised to issue an executive order banning soldiers from getting involved in land conflicts . Museveni was answering questions from journalists .

The president said Cabinet resolved that the army must not get involved in any land matters.

“I will issue an executive order, they will get out. We have discussed it in Cabinet. I am going to draft an executive order and they should not be part of land matters. Soldiers should be fighting, not patrolling land boundaries,” the President said.

Mr Museveni says his government is working to implement several reforms to streamline these recurrent concerns. 

“The good thing is that we are moving forward and at the right time, we shall deal with the issue of the land. The 1998 Land Act was very strong because it protected the bibanja and when you see people being evicted it is because they don’t know about that land act. We also have the issue of the elite not helping the ordinary people. That is part of the problem, otherwise, the existing law would protect those people,” he said.

A similar recommendation was made by the Bamugemereire Commission that conducted a countrywide inquiry into land matters, with emphasis on keeping soldiers out of land evictions, accusing the men in uniform of instigation and perpetrating violence. 

Mr Richard Muganzi, the executive director of Landcode Initiative, a non-governmental organisation focused on the promotion of land rights, welcomed the development as a step in demilitarising civilian domains. 

“This is an important development regarding the intersection of military usage in civilian domains.…there is a need to improve the capacity of the Uganda Police Force at sub-county level to effectively handle any uprising on land-related matters at the village level. The police not only have to keep law and order but they also need to protect life and property,” he said.

The Kilak South Member of Parliament, Mr Gilbert Olanya, who also serves as the Acholi Parliamentary Group secretary general, was less enthusiastic about the development, saying several presidential directives are not implemented.

“Unfortunately presidential directives are not being respected, for example on Balalos. Army generals are the ones violating [the directives].  His Excellency fears the army the most, therefore, even if he gives orders, it won’t be honoured,” he said.

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