Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny- Dollo has lambasted the Local Governments and the police for frustrating former Aruu County Member of Parliament Odonga Otto’s campaign against illegal charcoal dealers.
According to Dollo, the different stakeholders who are supposed to support Otto to save the environment are instead arresting him while protecting those destroying the environment.
Otto was recently arrested for aggravated robbery after he was accused of leading a mob to beat to steal money, vandalize a vehicle and severely injure three charcoal businessmen; Charles Ssemanda, Yusuf Wagwana, and Takafa Erisata in Atanga Sub-County, Pader District.
Otto denied the allegations arguing that he has been out of the Acholi Sub-region for the past two weeks, adding that the police and other officials in government need to be investigated for conniving with illegal charcoal dealers and protecting them.
Commenting about the matter, Dollo also agreed with Otto, citing that there must be a syndicate to desertify Northern Uganda.
“There is a Syndicate to Desertify Northern Uganda. Recently Parliament passed the Climate Change Act with very stringent Measures. I have not heard anybody destroying our environment being charged. I appeal to our Local Governments to save our environment, It is shameful that you are leaving this battle to Odonga Otto, this is your battle, not Odonga Otto’s,” Dollo said.
Dollo disclaimed that he is not Otto’s lawyer and does not speak for him, but wondered why Otto would be arrested for “stealing from a thief”.
“When you steal from a thief, does the thief have a right of claim over the property you have stolen from him ??? I appeal to You directly Your Excellency, that save our environment, save our environment as central government,” he said.
Meanwhile, Odonga Otto has run to President Museveni to intervene in a situation he claims is being abetted by the Uganda Police.
Otto is the current chairperson of the Ribbe Pi Paco (RPP), a group of environmentalists in Northern Uganda that is enforcing the ban on Commercial Charcoal Trade issued by the Government of Uganda on the 24th February 2023 by the Minister of State for Environment Hon. Atim Beatrice Anywar.
Otto claims that the police have joined a section of charcoal dealers who have developed a militia approach in a bid to protect their illegal trucks.
These, according to Otto use pangas, iron bars, knives and other deadly tools.