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Madi Chief Attributes Apaa Conflict to Elected Leaders

Locals at Juka Trading Centre in Apaa Parish where they relocated following clashes between the Madi and Acholi. PHOTO BY CISSY MAKUMBI

Stephen Drani, the cultural chief of the Madi community, has pointed fingers at elected and cultural leaders for failing to convey accurate information regarding land demarcations as the root cause of the Apaa land conflict.

In May 2023, Drani faced arrest and detention in Openyzizi prison within the Adjumani district on charges related to attempted murder and assault stemming from the Apaa dispute. However, he has since organized a thanksgiving prayer event, during which he emphasized the need for unity and the strengthening of administrative institutions.

The Apaa land conflict has significantly strained relations between segments of the Madi and Acholi sub-regions. Despite numerous attempts to resolve the dispute over the 40-square-kilometer land parcel, no satisfactory resolution has been achieved.

Today, Madi cultural leader Stephen Drani Izakare has once again urged elected representatives from both the Madi and Acholi communities to engage in discussions and seek ways to resolve this ongoing conflict. Drani, who faced legal troubles in May 2023, organized a thanksgiving prayer gathering to express gratitude for his safety.

Over the past decade, the Apaa land conflict has escalated, resulting in numerous casualties, the destruction of hundreds of homes, and substantial property damage. In a symbolic gesture of solidarity, Catholic Bishop Ochan Odoki from the Acholi sub-region joined Chief Drani in offering prayers for unity and peace between the two communities.

Prejudice and a lack of effective communication have been identified as the primary drivers of violence in the Apaa land dispute. Notably, in 2017, the Minister for Local Government, Tom Butiime, officially declared that the Apaa land belongs to Adjumani district and not Amuru, adding further complexity to the situation.

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