The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Amuru Leaders Oppose Madhvani Sugar Project

Amuru district leaders say they will oppose President Museveni's plans to launch a sugarcane estate there, when he tours the area next week.

The president is expected in Amuru on Monday to launch the sugarcane growing project, but local leaders have vowed to stop the effort. Led by Kilak county MP Gilbert Olanya, they accuse the Madhvani Group of hiding behind Museveni to forcefully acquire land to plant sugarcane in its bid to boost sugar production.

"Many people have acquired land in Amuru and nobody has ever stopped them, but the approach that Madhvani and the president are taking is not proper. As I speak, they have established a barracks for soldiers in Amuru. But if they want to grab our land, we will mobilize the residents," Olanya said.

Since the Madhvani Group expressed interest in acquiring 40,000 hectares of land for sugar cultivation in Amuru district early this year, residents are fearful of forceful eviction and have opposed the move.

"We are surprised, because we hear that the president is coming to launch sugarcane growing. [Museveni] should not bring Madhvani to Amuru. We have been fooled enough and we are not ready to tolerate forceful land dealings," Olanya said.

Amuru district local government speaker, Christopher Odongkara, said residents want development and investment, but insist that the investors should consider them first. Odongkara adds that the police and army have recently been deployed in the area, resulting in arrests of and mistreatment of some residents.

The New Vision yesterday reported that the Court of Appeal slapped an injunction against Madhvani using the Amuru land.

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