Culture

Iteso forest rights food security & environment

“Only an owner or user may cut trees on his(/her) land but any person may cut trees on unallocated land. Certain trees because of their food properties or utilitarian uses are regarded as reserved trees and may not normally be cut down even by the person on whose land they grow… Trees planted by hand remain the property of the planter or his(/her) heir even if the land on which they grow has, through the planter’s absence or some other reason, ceased to belong to him(/her). But if he(/she) leaves the area he(/she) must detail some person to look after the trees and certify that they are his(/hers) … Private trees may be bought and sold at the owner’s discretion and sale conveys no title to land on which the tree grows.”

J.C.D. Lawrence in “The Iteso – Fifty years of change in a Nilo-Hamitic tribe of Uganda,” 1957

How so sad that the natural evolution of Iteso culture was violently interrupted by the English who colonised the Iteso nation, now included as part of the Republic of Uganda.

How so sad that ‘post colonisation’, at independence and subsequently, successive leaders of the Republic have not sought to restore the good ways of our ancestors and to base the central logic of the Republic on the central logic of the cultures of our first nations.

At my Alinga Farms, on land allocated to me by my late father at his home in Kadoki Village. It was a labour of love to nurture my oranges. To do so, I allowed access to my relatives to grow food crops in-between the oranges so that as the maintained their food crops they too maintained my oranges.

And instead, they have sought to base the central logic of the laws of the Republic on the central logic of the colonizers’ culture.

So, you have masqueraders, pretending trained in the laws of the Republic (a bastardized version of English law), speaking a foreign language, quoting a penal code that most don’t understand; essentially confusing ordinary people, so that the masquerading psychopaths get away with committing crime.

My oranges fruiting at my Alinga Farms

Like, sincerely, how can you just wake up one day and order the destruction of someone’s orchard – cutting down orange trees and mango trees; and denying the agents of the owner access to maintain said orchard nor to to harvest the fruit. And moreover the orchard is on land which is not yours!

Well, it is happening in Teso and moreover with collusion from some who pretend ijaka (Iteso clan leaders). Ijaka whose allegiance is questionable because their becoming ijaka was not through merit, but rather via a toxic mockery of democratic contestation and elections.

It is time for Emorimor to have and to publish a code of conduct for ijaka and accompany it with effective enforcement that bites. Otherwise, we allow our advanced civilisation to be erased by masqueraders and psychopaths.

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