Education

New Soroti University in Illegal Land Eviction Scandal

Mps on the Education committee of parliament visiting the construction of Soroti University

Soroti University is entangled in squabbles with residents of Aputon village in Arapai Sub County who it has allegedly evicted illegally from their land.

On Saturday last week, patient the University Secretary Ms. Ruth Acimo is alleged to have hired goons from Mbale town to conduct a forceful night eviction.

The row between Soroti University and the locals has persisted for a long time and victims are upset that government has declined to intervene.

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Geresem Eotu, there one of the evicted expressed concern that ever since Parliament approved the opening of Soroti University back in 2015 they have never had a good night sleep.

The residents claim that Soroti University colluded with local authorities and police to cause displacement of people from their land.

Charles Elasu the Soroti district NRM chairperson also castigated the university authorities on actions taken against the rightful owners of the Land.

“If they want the land, stomach let them seat down the owners and compensate them but not use of force.  Things are not done that way. I think I have to blame Ms. Acimo and her junior staff on actions taken against the community,” he said.

Soroti district LC 5chairperson George Michael Egunyu on phone regretted the decision by his council to approve the land tittle given to the University in 2012, adding however that the land that was approved was not exactly the one people are being thrown out of, but just close by.

Egunyu threatened to cancel the land tittle if the University continues to illegally evict the land owners.

Our efforts to get a comment from any of the University’s top organs were still fruitless as Ms. Acimo’s cell phone was off while that of Prof. John Robert Ikoja went unanswered.

The government of Uganda, following lobbying by stakeholders from the Teso sub-region, decided in 2012 to establish a public university in Soroti District.

A five person taskforce, headed by founding vice chancellor Robert Ikoja, was named by then Clastry’s Education Jessica Alupo in September 2012 to prepare for the opening of the university.

Construction of the university’s main building began in June 2014 with completion expected 24 months later.

In June 2015, the government of Uganda, officially created Soroti University as a public institution, when then minister introduced a Statutory Instrument followed by a resolution of Parliament to the same effect. The first student intake has been delayed until 2017.

 

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