The successes of the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) to date are worth celebrating. Today, we recognize the efforts of partners from every corner of the world, who through their perpetual optimism, have brought us many steps closer to making data collection and reporting on tenure security globally comparable.
The constitution and enabling legislation in Uganda, as in many other countries, empower the government to acquire land in the public interest. Under Ugandan law a person whose land is identified for a public purpose must be compensated fairly, promptly, and prior to the acquisition of the property.
The ways in which people obtain land in Uganda are changing fast. Land that used to be secured through inheritance, gifts or proof of long-term occupancy is now more commonly changing hands in the market. Those with wealth and powerful connections are frequently able to override local rules and gain access to land at the expense of poorer individuals. Government-backed agribusiness investors receive large areas of land with benefits for some local farmers who are able to participate in the schemes, while other smallholders see their land access and livelihoods degraded.
This guide has been written as an information resource for government officials, community leaders, humanitarian aid workers, judges, lawyers and others whose responsibilities include upholding land and property rights in Uganda. It outlines the main provisions of Uganda’s constitutional and legal framework and the protection these provide to property rights. It briefly outlines the historical background to existing land tenure relations, describes the constitutional provisions relating to land in the 1995 Constitution and sets out the main provisions of the Land Act 1998.
Food security in Uganda relies mainly on access to land and security of tenure. Land governance is marked by the contradiction between relatively progressive legislation and only partial implementation. Institutions that have to deal with land administration and land disputes, such as customary authority systems, local government, and special courts for land justice, have weakened in the last years. Women’s position with respect to land and inheritance also remains weak, both legally and in practice, undermining their livelihoods and status in society.