Stopping land grabbings in Africa!


Folks,
 With the current trend of land gabbing in Africa,very soon many would be squatters in their own country. In case you are not aware of this new development in the Gambela region.As the land is being given out to the foreign companies in unprecedented way, the future of the indigenous people and their survival becomes uncertain.

I am appealling to you all to raise this land grabbing issues in the Gambela region at any occassion and opportunities so that we can save the environment and the people living on the land. As some of you are aware, so far two companies have been operating in the Gambela region with allocation of 410, 000 hectares. Saudi Star though was said to have been given 10,000 hectares, the recent information indicate that the allocation has risen to 160,000 hectares.

Karuthuri, another Indian company holds 250,000 hectares of land in the Gambela region. The second Indian company the information of which I am sending to you has been given 250,000 hectares and have started clearing the land starting from Obela until the area of Arieth along the Gilo River. There is also information trickling from  the ground that there is another negotiations going on to give land across the Gilo River at Pinyudo area.

Please support us to stop this land grabbing with serious impacts on the indigenous peoples livelihoods and their survival. I appreciate very much your support on this matter and many more.

Did the Government consult the people of Ethiopia, the real owners of the land? I doubt it. Thus, grabbing peoples’ land by unscrupulous Government, something NRM Government has been doing in Uganda, shamelessly, for years.

Please read more about this on the following links:

http://farmlandgrab.org/10396

http://farmlandgrab.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/RUchi-ETH.jpg
Kind regards, 
Nyikaw

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Comments

10 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Billie Kadameri,

    I have been to Ethiopia recently and done stories about the so-called land grab, which is in fact land-leasing. For your information, unlike Uganda, all land in Ethiopia belongs to the government. People live on and cultivate it and can even pass it on to their children but it belongs to the government. Ethiopia is probably the only country in Africa with such a land system.

    Billie

  2. Godfrey Nsubuga,

    Billie,
    Dont present issues in such a simplistic manner as though your from space, when you say you went to Ethiopia I imagine you are a journalist or someone interested social welfare. What is suprising is you write ”so called land grabbing”. Let land be leased or sold you cant convince anyone that from all those square kilometres of land there were no locals. So where do they go? In Ethiopia where people rely on garden produce and with big chunks of infertile land the investers are scheming for productive land and pushing locals to poor soils. Its comon knowledge these guys in the middle east want productive land for their food supply and they dont give damn about Africans. This coupled with corrupt governments Africans will be squaters. Are you not aware of Egyptian farms fighting to get land in Uganda? by the way government is struggling to keep these deals within its political mighty and thats why they awarded themselves square kilometres in Kiboga, Mubende. This trend is happening so billie get real. I might remind you as well that nearly a third of then Bugerere was bought for cows and wanachi evicted and to date they are yawning; this may be ”so called” to you but Hon; Rwakakoko and Afande Otafire are credible witnesses.
    So Billie wake up to realities; Land belonging to government does not make locals disposible objects and dont forget the Saudis will produce to feed their fellow Arabs not Ethiopians.

    GODREY W.

  3. Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto,

    Mr Nsubuga,

    Countries like Ethiopia and yes, Uganda, will only survive as prosperous countries if they make an immediate break with rain-fed subsistence production by peasants. The worst form of oppressing a population is by keeping them as peasants in the criminal guise of “protecting indigenous peoples”.

    In any case, what do Ethiopian peasants have to show for being owners of land? The chronic famines?

    The United Kingdom whose political system many of you love to worship carried out a rearrangement of land ownership from about 1600 to mid 1800s and as a result of that, 70% of the land in that country is owned by 0.7% of the population. That is what set the stage for the agricultural revolution, and later the industrial revolution. They would not have done that with peasants strewn all over the place. They converted them into wage labourers and land ownership was consolidated. There is going to be no alternative to that for the likes of Uganda, Ethiopia and I do not what else.

    Peasants belonged to the mediaeval era. We cannot build modern countries on the basis of peasant production. Zenawi must be hailed!

    Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

  4. GODREY W.,

    Patrick you need to make a distinction between a planned event and a choatic move for a few people to make money in the guise of free economies. We can comercialise agriculture with or with out Saudis or Indians. Are u sure Ethiopia has a plan like Europe had for its people at industrial revolution. Its a worse crime send people to near death environments while a few earn the billions from your commercialisation, this is the problem that has plagued the Niger delta. The only reason people complain is they are aware that these are done to benefit a few and not because they hate development.

    GODREY W.

  5. Patrick Otto,

    Mr Nsubuga,

    Like it or not, the very scale of cultivation that is being “planned” (since you seem to thing the whole exercise is mish mash) will lead to its own logic of rearranging many aspects of Ethiopian economic life. Soy bean planted on 61,775 acres of land already exceeds the peasant consumption style of “kukaranga” and selling by the table spoon in Owino. That soy bean has to be plated, watered, weeded, harvested, processed into oil etc and all that has knock-on effects on the rest of the economy.

    The trouble with us here is to think that when peasants are proleterianised, they will remain peasants. Many will become wage labourers on the farms and a wage labourer is a far more advanced individual than a peasant. Many will operate machinery, tractors, harvesters etc….the battles to fight should be of resisting any attempts by the Indians to bring along the lower grade labourers…

    The earlier countries like Ethiopia and Uganda force through thses changes, the better. It will become harder to enforce those compulsory changes when the populations are larger than they are now.

  6. Kato Mivule,

    We are speaking as if Ethiopia is acting out of a vacuum; the so-called building of a “Modern Society” is another term for the free market multinational corporation philosophy. Ethiopians produce some of the best coffee in the world that Starbucks a US Multinational Coffee Corporation sought to implement its ‘Walmart’ philosophy by acquiring goods for cheap labor a.k.a. the rush to the bottom.
    These are matters of common knowledge in the West that sometimes Museveni apologists think is uncommon – thinking that every Ugandan is a fool, not taking into account why even in the West mass demonstrations against WTO have been taking place.
    There is no doubt that land fragmentation is an issue in Africa but the land laws enacted in Ethiopia were jeered towards helping out US Multinational Corporations like Starbucks, who pay farmers far less and profit heavily at the sell of Ethiopian Coffee in the US.
    Therefore Zenawi has served both the Corporate and Military Interests of the USA and that is the Problem, good for him but very bad news for the locals. The little money that the locals get is just a tradeoff and to suggest that Zenawi must be hailed for selling out his people is troubling…very troubling indeed.
    Kato Mivule

  7. Jeniffer Biri,

    Otto
    As I said earlier, we shall appoint you the minister of Agric/Vet or Techn.in the next government. I do not see why you do not open up your true identity since some of us already know who you’re so that those who do not can have chance to know you.Now, really if you are not a westerner, how would you easily use the word “kukaranga”of soya bean.(roasting soya bean).
    Don’t you think Ug.would produce so much food for export if it grabbed all the fertile volcanic sols in Toro and others in Kigumba area or the North such as Gulu? Would this affect the common people or not?

  8. Godfrey Nsubuga,

    Patrick you seem to have a Utopian view of these land investors. Take a simple example in Uganda, Do you think the millions of Indians in Uganda are actual expatriates as they fill the forms at imigration on comming? Are you the only one who has not seen an Indian driving a truck distributing bottled water? Go around and check on the computer expertriates we get here and all they are capable of is only blow out dust from a PC power supply. We can also go down Zimbabwe despite the fact that Mugabe mismaged the process of giving locals some land and instead gave his political allies and the Generals. Ordinary Zimbabweans were increasingly getting enslaved by fellow white Zimbabweans who had grip on fertile land and by the way the black zimbabweans formed the labour force but the wedges were not comensurate with the cost of living and in essence they were being enslaved. This was the fact on ground but only mismanaged by bad politics.Ordinary Zimbabweans needed and still need a policy to take them out slavery. Many of you under estimate peasants but the total sum of produce from peasants can be great. Peasants in Eastern Uganda produce the a big Chuck of national maize grain. Peasants/pastoralists in Western Uganda account for the biggest percentage of Uganda’s Milk produce. DDA has probably the best statistics on peasant milk production go and have a loo. Look Patrick, Peasants can be very productive with even less cost and in our case their produce is only never bought at its worth, they probably need market assurence. Everyone likes development but every one who has worked for Indians will tell you, in an indian’s company indians must be ferried in to dominate jobs so you anticipated jobs may be a falacy. This forms my skeptical view of any one /any government trying to evict people from any where so that investors do cultivate the same land the locals have been cultivating. Investors had better come and buy produce from peasants. And dont forget that these foreigner’s prime task is to feed their people back home not local blacks. Thats the principal objective of all these guys from the middle east.

    GODREY W.

  9. Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto,

    Mr Mivule,

    What does Museveni have to do with the debate here? We are talking about Zenawi!

    “So-called multinational Corporation philosophy”: what options do you have for Ethiopia? Which other philosophy have they been following hitherto and what has it yielded for them? Is the chronic food insecurity that the Ethiopians have to endure good evidence for a philosophy that they should stick to to avoid the nightmare of “multinational Corporation philosophy”…or to avoid nightmares, we should generally keep awake?…avoid multinationals, relate to American/British peasants only….sure? Sterile populism!

    I see you constantly talking about “Military Interests of the USA”….So, Ethiopia lacks its own military interests?

    You say “land laws enacted in Ethiopia were jeered towards helping out US Multinational Corporations like Starbucks”: Whatever “jeered” might mean, Ethiopia has been producing coffee for 1,000 years and I do not when Starbucks started being around.

    Coffee production in Ethiopia is not any different from anywhere else in Africa or in the global south. It is bigger than Zenawi and it antedates him by many years….and the current programmes, the subject of debate here are actually an attempt by Ethiopia to run away from coffee, which in Zenawi’s own words, cannot even be eaten by donkeys in times of drought. Starbucks or not, the problem will remain the unwillingness of global south countries to move to add value to produce like coffee. If you do not do that, you are fleeced. That is what you should be telling us about and not spreading superstitions about multinationals. What is wrong with multinationalism anyway? Isn’t ICO a multinational arrangement? Why don’t they form an arrangment for a corporation that processes their coffee instead of sending to the north some unprocessed beans? Mr Mivule answers: “Starbucks yabaloga”

    What I see here is some rather interesting if obsessive anti USism….it will not advance our debates on UAH in anyway. It is the rotten egg that attracts flies, those multinational corporations…..

    Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

  10. Kato Mivule,

    By the way I am not “anti-USism” as implied, it is a cheap way out of a debate…and perhaps insinuate violence, a very CLEVER trick you are playing Mr. Otto, and SHAME on you for that…I thought a man who does all this research and contributes enormously on this forum is beyond leveling such attacks and caricatures.
    Are you not being Exposed Mr. Otto, for you to suggest and insinuate that I am anti-US, simply because I question the role of Multinational Corporations in the Developing World???
    As I stated earlier this is common knowledge is the USA and not NEWS. The term “Corporate Responsibility” has been in around for some time in the West. Demonstrations against Wal-Mart, Starbucks are not NEWS. For instance is there a reason why most Western Corporations find it in their interest to go “Green” today?

    Like I stated earlier, Image is everything to the USA. Ignoring the Role of Corporations and what that means insofar as US Interests are concerned is to miss the point as to who Mzee Kaguta and Zenawi report to. Therefore anyone who wants to Rule Uganda had better know who the real players of the Game are. It is hard to believe that we are economically independent in Africa, isn’t it? Probably this calls for a Paradigm Shift and a cessation of praising African Dictators.

    I personally thought Olara Otunu would be a better transitional point since he has been around such circles and understand who the real powers that be are.

    Lastly debating the role of multinational corporations in emerging markets (another derogatory term for poor nations) is not “anti-USism”…that card won’t work, play another…

    Kato Mivule

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