USDP in Row With Farmers Who Say Party Stole Their Land

The Union Solidarity and Development Party and two government departments have become embroiled in a land dispute with farmers in Mandalay region.

The USDP has leased up to 80 acres in Kyaukse township to agribusinesses to generate funding for the party, but farmers say the land was stolen from them 20 years ago.

The General Administration Department and the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department were also involved in confiscating over 220 acres of land, the farmers said.

They held a ‘plough protest’ on Saturday by tilling parts of the disputed land to signify their claim to it.

“These are our ancestral lands,” said Daw Tote, a protestor who alleged 12 acres of her land were confiscated by the government in the 1990s.

“My sons and daughters have to work on other people’s land because they took ours,” she added.

Htin Min Myat Oo, a spokesperson for the USDP in Mandalay region, said the party had obtained the land in question legally.  

“These lands were originally virgin lands full of trees and bushes… the military government allocated them to the USDP, GAD and LBVD for the country’s needs,” he said.

He also accused the protestors of engaging in a “political ploy to drive a wedge between the USDP and the public.”

The dispute will be reported to party headquarters in Naypyitaw, he added.

The USDP has faced numerous questions about its ownership of disputed land.

In 2015,the prominent 88 Generation leader Ko Ko Gyi led a protest against the party after it allegedly seized a public park in Yangon’s South Okkalapa township.

And the Bago City Development Committee has been preparing to re-launch an investigation into how the party acquired land for its local office there.

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