Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has issued a directive for the eviction of indisciplined Balaalo cattle herdsmen who have been grazing their cattle in non-fenced areas in the Acholi sub-region. He has also ordered the immediate eviction of Balalo herding cattle on government ranches, with a three-week deadline for compliance.
President Museveni, dressed in military uniform, personally arrived in Okidi South in Amuru District to issue the directive. This move is aimed at resolving long-standing tensions in the Acholi sub-region caused by the activities of the Balalo cattle herders.
The President’s order is based on several factors, including the destruction of crops by roaming cattle, abuse of government ranches, and cultural clashes caused by some indisciplined Balalo.
In addition to the eviction order, President Museveni has instructed the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to create a law that criminalizes the practice of Balaalo cattle herding in Uganda.
Grace Freedom Kwiyuciny, the Minister of State for Northern Uganda, who conducted consultative meetings on the issue, urged the President to establish a tribunal for conflict resolution to address land disputes in the Acholi sub-region.
Anthony Akol, the Kilak North Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Acholi Parliamentary Group, described the Balalo issue as a major security concern. He also provided a passport that allegedly belonged to one of the Balaalo of Rwandan origin.
However, the LC1 chairperson placed blame on the cultural leader of Atiak for creating division between the Balaalo and local landowners.
The President’s directive also calls on Members of Parliament to educate cattle farmers on how to efficiently utilize small parcels of land to raise large herds of cattle.