The Albertine region is famous for the oil discovered in the region a couple of years ago. The Albertine region is made up of several districts that include Buliisa, Kasese, Masindi, Kanungu, Rukungiri, Hoima, Kagadi and Ntoroko. While the oil discovery would be a source of economic growth and development for the region, it hasn’t been the case. Since these discoveries, communities have suffered massive land grabs and other injustices associated with such developments as evictions, murder, and rape among others. Oil exploration and development activities have bred more suffering than the said development for local communities.
Over 250 women convened in Buliisa district for an anti-land-grabbing bicycle riding caravan, which was meant to mobilize the communities in the Albertine region was championed by women who are gravely affected by land grabbing which is rampant in the region. The women were joined by many youths in the race. They rode through different trading centers in Buliisa for 7kms mobilizing people to be part of the struggle against land injustices in their community.
Important to note is that riding bicycles by women in these communities is taboo and culturally unacceptable. Participating in this action is their defiance to patriarchy and other forms of oppression that are meant to marginalize women and support land injustices and inequality. In situations of land grabbing women and children are the most affected. They suffer evictions coupled with hunger, murder, and rape from ruthless land-grabbers that include some state actors and other private investors that are in most cases indirectly or even directly supported by the state.
After the riding, the women together with youth and men gathered at Kakindo grounds where they shared their stories of resistance and perseverance. They also discussed strategies and next steps in the struggle against land injustices
At Solidarity Uganda we believe in the power of women, their commitment and strength to organize. For effective change to take place women must be involved at all levels. The communities we work with have mostly had women at the forefront of their struggles. The bicycle-riding caravan had 90% of the riders as females calling upon each other and their male counterparts in the struggle for justice on their land. Women have successfully chased away corrupt officials and land grabbers in their unified struggles.The caravan attracted so many people. Among those attracted were police officers, the Buliisa District CAO and CDO who were bewildered by the huge number of women. While these officials are popular for disrupting such actions by citizens, they had no choice but to join and protect the community. This is the power of the people!