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Moses Ali: I am ready for prison over Apaa land clashes

Accused of being a mastermind of the deadly clashes in Apaa village between the Acholi in Amuru district and Madi from West Nile, the First Deputy Prime Minister, Gen Moses Ali, said yesterday that he is ready to go to prison if there’s evidence linking him to the killings.

At least six people were killed and 20 injured in the clashes that have heightened tensions between the two communities, which have fought over a piece of land in Apaa village along their common border since June 4.

The clashes have drawn all kinds of controversy in Parliament, which peaked on June 21, with a fierce verbal exchange between MPs from Acholi and Madi during the plenary sitting.

Before the exchange, the minister of State for Lands and Housing, Chris Baryomunsi, presented a statement about the latest clashes in Apaa parish. Gen Ali, whose name has been mentioned repeatedly among the masterminds who rallied the Madi community to attack the Acholi on the disputed Apaa land, strongly denied any involvement.

“Allegations have been made against me but I know the investigating department is doing its work. I believe whoever they find involved, including me, I am ready to go to Luzira [Prison] or anywhere, even Nalufenya,” Gen Ali said.

Gen Moses Ali

The Adjumani West County MP faced off with Acholi MPs, Gilbert Olanya (Kilak South) and Anthony Akol (Kilak North), who claimed he fans the violence in the disputed area.

Olanya repeatedly referred to Ali as the first suspect and urged police to grill him and charge him with inciting his community against the Acholi.

“It is very difficult to trust a lion with your meat. Therefore, you cannot 100 per cent base your argument on a report shared by Gen Ali. There is no conflict between the Madi and Acholi but the only problem is, we have some greedy people who are here conniving with investors to sell the land and deprive our people of their land rights,” Olanya said.

Anthony Akol (Kilak North) insisted that Gen Ali must step aside to allow independent investigations go on. Gen Ali accused Akol and Olanya of turning the clashes into a political platform to incite the Acholi community to attack the Madi.

“Yes, the investigations must go on but not only Moses Ali should be investigated; anyone involved, including Olanya and Akol, must be ready to carry our crosses if we are found guilty,” the minister angrily retorted.

Jessica Ababiku (Adjumani Woman) reminded Olanya that during the 9th Parliament, an investigative report by the Physical Infrastructure committee, which investigated the Amuru and Adjumani boundary disputes in March 2013, accused him of fanning the violence in Apaa.

Eventually, after a protracted debate, a number of MPs, including Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza, proposed the formation of an independent committee to investigate the clashes, but without leaders or individuals from the Madi and Acholi sub-regions.

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© 2016 Observer Media Ltd