I salute RDF for having taken the lead in resolving the land problem in Eastern Province. You have been labelled all sorts of awkward names including “Land Grabbers” but I am sure you cannot be demoralized by such words.
We know that you took a right decision.
You did this by sending your commanders to the field when other institutions were still hesitant. You led and others followed.
You proved that you have the ability to resolve problems as a solid and coherent institution.
Let things also be put in a proper perspective. Some people may not believe it but in 1994 – 1996, it looked as if there was plenty of land in the former Umutara Province not until many people started complaining about the shortage of land. When you realized that many people were facing a problem of land shortage you acted quickly and then the police and other leaders emulated your actions.
In any case it is better late than never. Interestingly, the attack against the RDF intensified immediately when we learnt that the RDF had put in place a committee to gather all the necessary details on land distribution in Eastern Province. I leant from one member of the committee that they were given terms of reference and a deadline.
Those who are not happy with your actions always claim that the whole move was started by the President who is also your Commander in Chief. What is wrong with translating the intent and vision of your President or Commander for that matter into action? I wish we were all doing that.
There is another side of the story that we civilians don’t always mention.
Some military personnel acquired land in areas we were afraid to step in at that time – areas with wild animals and heavily infested with tsetse flies.
Moreover, there was no local administration in some of those areas before 1996. Both the military and civilians got themselves pieces of land of different sizes.
It is true that some of military personnel acquired big pieces of land in Eastern Province either by themselves or through the local administration.
However, it is also true that some land belonging to relatives of military personnel is sometimes erroneously referred to as the land of Afande so and so as if civilians cannot own land on their own.
The RDF has enormous tasks to perform and they are accomplishing them creditably well.
Malicious people should stop maligning our force.
RDF, I say to you don’t get derailed. Keep it up!