Below is a social media discussion (for lack of a better word) between me and a Non-Ugandan-Non-Black-Man (NUNBM), likely an ‘important’ citizen of the global North (Europe or North America). Is it me or is there something seriously amiss with this particular Non-Ugandan-Non-Black-Man? Or perhaps he is just winding me up? I would really love to read your opinions on this, so I look forward to your comments.
ME: Interesting term AGRO-COLONIALISM. For example, BIDCO’s operation in Kalangala which is supported by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); in which BIDCO and global palm oil giant Wilmar International are major investors; and is benefiting from a State sanctioned land grab. (I also shared a link to a story published in the Guardian about poor farmers demanding compensation for the land which was illegally taken over by BIDCO: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/mar/03/ugandan-farmers-take-on-palm-oil-giants-over-land-grab-claims).
NUNBM: Only the legal owner of the land is entitled to compensation. Squatters have no legal rights.
ME: Yes, Non-Uganda-Non-Black-Man, and the relevant question in the context of Uganda is who are the legal owners? It is not uncommon for persons with legal rights over the land in Uganda to be declared squatters and to be turned into illegal occupants by misapplication of the law; in some cases funded and supported by those claiming they are intervening to bring ‘development’. Here is a link https://nowaraga.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/land-grabbing-in-uganda-is-sanctioned-by-state-law/ to a historical perspective of how state sanctioned land grabbing in Uganda came to be. Non-Ugandan-Non-Black-Man, I also invite you to familiarise with (read) this backgrounder which discusses the in-built conflict within Uganda’s land tenure https://nowaraga.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/conflicts-in-ugandas-land-tenure/ perhaps, you will appreciate that establishing legal ownership of land in Uganda is not as straight forward simple.
NUNBM: I would suggest citing law review articles for any discussion on whether such process is illegal or not and not somebody’s own opinion. Can you refer to such law reviews/law journal publications by any leading law schools in Europe or USA?
ME: Seriously, Non-Ugandan-Non-Black-Man, are you joking or something? Why would I need to refer to reviews/law journal publications by leading law schools in Europe or USA in order to discuss land grabbing in Uganda by companies with origins/support from Europe or USA? Are you kidding me? My opinions are based on Uganda’s laws and policies including our Constitution. As a citizen of the world, a human being I am entitled to an opinion – it is my human right. And as a citizen of Uganda it is my civic duty to participate actively in the governance of our country, including giving my opinions.