Uganda Land Alliance (ULA) executive director Edmond Owor displays the award in Dakar. (Courtesy photo)

Uganda Land Alliance (ULA) executive director Edmond Owor displays the award in Dakar. (Courtesy photo)

This is in recognition for playing a leading role in the formation of 52 Communal Land Associations (CLAs) in Karamoja sub-region in the districts of Kotido, Moroto, Napak and Kaabong.

A CLA is a group of people composed of over 30 members drawn from all sectors and minor clans of one single sub-clan. It is managed by a management committee of nine people, at least three of whom are women.

Land is becoming a tricky issue in Karamoja, which is richly endowed with gold, marble, iron ore, tungsten, limestone, oil and gas. Many investors are increasingly making a beeline for the region.

Approximately 17,000 km2 (or 62%) of the total land area of Karamoja has been licensed for mineral exploration and exploitation. There are 51 companies with 136 concessions.

After receiving the award in Dakar, Senegal recently, ULA?s executive director, Edmond Owor explained why the alliance beat 76 other entries.

?Because of ULA?s intervention on the front of land rights campaigns, CLAs are not giving chance to licensed companies to just part company with their land. They have won something already,? he said.

?For instance, in Moroto, a mining company agreed to pay sh120m to the Rupa community before it started mining marble on seven hectares of the communal lands.

?In Kaabong, CLA members successfully blocked a tourism company from carrying out any activity after discovering that it had fraudulently acquired land by forging the signatures of local leaders.?

He added: ?Although the 1998 Land Act provides a legal basis for the creation of CLAs, no attempt had ever been made to implement this.

?Going forward, we expect these CLAs to continue reversing the increasing number of land grabs or claim fair compensation for investments in their territories.?

By Billy Rwothungeyo, The New Vision

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