Cabinet minister for lands and urban development Betty Amongi has written to Alebtong district local government instructing it to give 500 acres of land in Awei sub county for the construction of Alebtong university of science and technology.
This was revealed by Kenneth Owa, the deputy speaker of Alebtong district council. He said the letter dated 21st May, 2017, was addressed to the LC5 chairperson. He however added that the district councilors will sit and discuss over the next step to follow before giving the land out.
On 18th May 2017, Alebtong district councillors resolved to withdraw the resolution by the councilors of the previous term that offered the contested Awei quarantine land to professor William Okwir Botto for the establishment of the University. They resolved to halt the construction of the university basing on claims that the University is trying to forcefully grab the whole land which has over 2,500 acres. The councilors say they have plans to develop the land which they are yet to get the land title. The resolution followed complains by the locals that have established their gardens on the land who said the university owners were putting down their crops and trees.
According to the councilors the land in question was given to the government of Uganda by locals in 1962. They add that government used the land as a cattle farm until 1987 when all the animals were lost to suspected Karimojong cattle rustlers. Since then the councilors say the land was redundant but only used by the locals who cultivated their crops on.
Meanwhile the councillors of the previous term gave the land to individuals who wanted to establish a university on the it. According to the resolution, the size in which the university should occupy wasn’t specified.
Meanwhile Elizabeth Obong Abongo who was among the members of the Alebtong district land board between 2011- 2016 accused the then Alebtong district LC5 chairman DK Odongo for not involving them in the discussion over the allocation of the land to the university. She said the money that was meant for the activities of the land board were diverted and this led to the wrongful allocation of the land to the university.
When contacted, DK Odongo said it was the council that allowed the establishment of the university. He said since the land belongs to the Uganda Lands Commission, the central government is the only body charged with its allocation.
By Bismarck Olang