President Museveni has in a change of mind relaxed his earlier stance in which he had banned the settlement or any activities done by Balaalo pastoralists in northern Uganda with immediate effect.
In a July, 2, 2023 , response to a June, 26, 2023 letter by the Operation Wealth Creation Chief Coordinator, Gen Salim Saleh, President Museveni says he has considered extending the deadline for the executive order banning Balaalo.
“Therefore, as we agreed on the phone and as I communicated through my radio message DTG 01 1550C July 23, I hereby extend the deadline of the Executive Order to the 30th of September, 2023. Use that time to further clarify the issues involved,” Museveni said .
In his Executive Order number three of 2023 given under powers given to him 99(2) of the Constitution and dated May, 19,2023, the president said the ban on any activities by the Balaalo was to take immediate effect.
“I therefore completely completely ban the illegal presence of Balaalo in Northern Uganda . This doesn’t mean the Balaalo, like other Ugandans cannot buy land and settle in Northern Uganda. However, on account of the two mistakes, that right cannot be enjoyed,” Museveni said.
“By the authority of this Executive Order, no Mulaalo should settle and bring cattle to settle and bring cattle to Northern Uganda except with the permission of the Minister of Lands and Minister of Agriculture.”
However, in his latest letter, the president says he has considered issues raised by his younger brother and chief coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation, Gen Saleh and halted the implementation of the Executive Order.
“The Advantages you have outlined are obvious. The only issues to take care of are: no kwoneseza wanainchi (the Balaalo cattle trampling wanainchi’s crops) and the answer for that is strong fencing and providing on farm water; and legally buying or leasing the land the Balaalo are using.To be avoided on the latter point is the practice of exploiting the knowledge gap between the immigrants (the Bafurukyi) and the Bataka (the indigenous people) where they collude with a few individuals in the family or clan to make the purchases and yet the land does not belong to the individuals,” Museveni says.
“If these two factors are guarded against, then the migration (in effect investments) by the elite would be healthy and symbiotic.The government would, then, seek to help other locals to learn from the Bafurukyi and develop a strong broad-based, dairy and beef industry in the North.”
To this, the president says he has extended the deadline of the eviction order by three months to September, 30, 2023 to allow for a review of their presence in Northern Uganda.