25 January 2013

Uganda: Balaalo in Uganda to Appeal Against Court Ruling

Herdsmen, commonly known as the Balaalo, from Buliisa district in Uganda are preparing an appeal against a ruling that subjects them to general damages of Uganda Shs2 million (Rfw 500,000) each.

The High Court in Masindi District on Tuesday declared the eviction of the herdsmen from Buliisa District on December 12, 2010, as illegal and unconstitutional.

"We are preparing papers as we do more research. We hope that in two weeks from now we shall be ready for the appeal," Mukasa Lugalambi, the Balaalos' lawyer said yesterday.

The ruling stems from an application filed in the Masindi court by 158 Balaalo, led by Grace Bororoza, against Gen. David Ssejusa, formerly known as Tinyefuza, the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, the Attorney General, the Buliisa County MP, Mr Stephen Birahwa among others, over illegal eviction from the land they acquired in Buliisa.

"My clients want to settle back on their land and for anything the potions of land they bought at that time have appreciated and they should be paid at the current rate," Lugalambi said.

In his ruling, Justice Ralph Ochan noted that although the defendants represented by the principal state attorney, Wanyama Kadoli, claim that the eviction was constitutional and that it was effected using a court order, the copy of the order was never presented to court.

The eviction was followed by ethnic tensions between the indigenous Bagungu and the Balaalo in Buliisa, that left several people injured and their property destroyed.

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