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April 13, 2024
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Museveni reverses decision on Balaalo

President Museveni has reversed his decision to ban the settlement and activities of Balaalo pastoralists in northern Uganda, following the intervention of Gen Salim Saleh, the Chief Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation. In response to a letter from Gen Saleh, President Museveni announced that he would extend the deadline for the executive order banning the Balaalo until September 30, 2023, to allow for further clarification of the issues involved.

The ban on the Balaalo was initially issued through Executive Order number three of 2023, signed on May 19, 2023. President Museveni stated that he completely prohibited the illegal presence of Balaalo in northern Uganda. However, in his recent letter, he acknowledged the points raised by Gen Saleh and halted the implementation of the order.

President Museveni highlighted the need for strong fencing and access to on-farm water to prevent conflicts between the Balaalo and local farmers. He also emphasized the importance of legal land acquisition and cautioned against exploiting the knowledge gap between immigrants and indigenous people during land purchases.

The president recognized the potential advantages of the Balaalo’s presence, particularly in developing a strong dairy and beef industry in northern Uganda. He expressed his desire to create a symbiotic relationship where the government supports locals in learning from the Balaalo’s expertise.

As a result of these considerations, President Museveni extended the deadline for the eviction order by three months, allowing for a comprehensive review of the Balaalo’s presence in northern Uganda. This decision aims to address concerns and find a balanced approach that benefits both the Balaalo and the local communities.

The relaxation of the ban signifies a shift in President Museveni’s stance, acknowledging the importance of sustainable and mutually beneficial development in northern Uganda. It also highlights the significance of dialogue and the role of key stakeholders in influencing policy decisions.

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