By Gloria Nakiyimba
In a dramatic move, boda boda riders in the northern district of Amuru on Monday forcefully whisked away five legislators from a police station where they had been taken following their arrest after a foiled demonstration against the giveaway of the land in Appaa belonging to the Acholi community.
Police in Gulu today blocked the demonstration and arrested five members of parliament from Acholi .
Those arrested included Kilak South constituency member of parliament Olanya Gilbert, Arru county legislator Samuel Odonga Otto, Tochi county MP Okot Peter, Amuru district woman representative Akello Lucy, and Kilak north law maker Akol Anthony.
The law makers are against a government move to give away 42 square kilometers of the land in Appaa to a foreign investor without compensating the bonafide owners.
“The rightful owner of the land in Apaa is the Acholi community, and the truth of the matter is that, that land of Appaa was given to some white man ; an investor called Bruce Martin . The man comes from South Africa” Kilak south constituency legislator Olanya Gilbert told Capital radio.
They were intercepted on their way to Kaunda grounds where they were heading to address the affected community about their grievances.
“We organized peaceful demonstration today to move and address the people in Acholi at Kaunda grounds, and when were moving very smartly without any chaos, police officers came, they blocked us , they started removing the placards we had and started arresting all of us the five members of parliament” said mp Olanya
Police took them to Gulu Central Police station but upon arrival, the law makers refused to enter police cells insisting it is their right to demonstrates
“From the CPS we refused, we rejected to enter inside the police cell , we told them we have not broken any law, demonstration is a right to an individual, we are showing our grievances for what is what going on in Appaa since the government is not helping us” he added.
As the push back and forth continued outside the Gulu CPS, the number of boda boda riders and some youth following the mps started swelling up. The riders took away the mps before police could force them to enter the cells.
“I am happy that boda boda people brought their motorcycle at the police station, forcefully started carrying all the members of parliament away. They really removed us forcefully from the hands of the police. I am happy that boda bodas came and rescued us” he averred.
Mp Olanya accuses government of siding with General Moses Ali from Madi and some members of the madi community to deny the land rights to the people of Acholi.
According to MP Olanya “what is going on right now in Appaa is really so alarming. You find some UPDF officers who own land in Appaa, they are burning the houses of the people of Acholi and chasing away”.
The Acholi community is protesting the giveaway of the land to an investor because they are the genuine owners.
“The Acholi community, who are occupying that land, told the government clearly that they cannot give our land because we were born there, we grew there. And Acholi community asked the government to come and negotiate peacefully with the land owners who are there. But the government say no…that land must be given to an investor” he explained.