PAKWACH. Cultural leaders in Pakwach district have come under fire for not doing enough to protect the vulnerable community members against land grabbers.
During a meeting organised by Action aid at Pakwach Catholic parish hall on Wednesday about mediation as a means of peaceful handling of land disputes among the community members, local politicians said communities have lost trust and confidence in cultural leaders due to greed and corruption they exhibit.
Ms Christine Mada, a female councillor representing Panyimur sub-county and district speakers tasked cultural leaders to explain why cases of ancestral land disputes are on the rise and yet clan leaders are empowered on mediation.
"We are concerned that communities are shunning away from settling family land disputes before you due to goats asked before hearing their cases", she said.
Mada said such unnecessary demands by the clan leaders deprive the poor from gaining justice.
"The widows and the orphans have severely suffered, they are denied access to land and remain perpetual beggars because of your unfair decisions", she added.
Rwoth Odong Mandir, the Puvungu Kaal chief admitted the injustice saying Widows are the primary target of evictions after their decisions.
He said a section of traditional chiefs conspire with wealthy wrongdoers to influence judgements adding that lack of documents is another factor that is fuelling land cases.
A number of institutions whose land was offered earlier by ancestors have come under threats of reclamations by the grandchildren who now connive with a section of some chiefs to do the dubious deals.
He said cultural leaders are better suited in handling land disputes than the judiciary that is not conversant with ancestral issues regarding ownership and boundaries.
Ms Matilda Natukunda, the project officer Nebbi women protection centre said women denial of access and control over land is still a huge cultural barrier that has left many women unproductive in the district.
She suggested that massive sensitization is needed to enlighten women on the land rights adding that traditional leaders should desist from deviating from their cardinal roles of delivering justices without discrimination.