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1 Half Full or Half Empty Glass Decentralisation and Women’s Land Rights in Uganda Josephine Ahikire Women & Gender Studies Makerere University & Centre.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Half Full or Half Empty Glass Decentralisation and Women’s Land Rights in Uganda Josephine Ahikire Women & Gender Studies Makerere University & Centre."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Half Full or Half Empty Glass Decentralisation and Women’s Land Rights in Uganda Josephine Ahikire Women & Gender Studies Makerere University & Centre for Basic Research Kampala Uganda

2 Context The Land Act 1998 Women’s movement struggle over land (the lost co-ownership clause) Section 40: consent clause - protection of family land/restrictions on the transfer of land by family members Section 57: Decentralisation of land services- establishment of district land boards, mandate of LC courts, role of district land office

3 3 DEC. & LAND RIGHTS ADMINISTRATION SYSTEM Clan Family Magistrates Court

4 The Implications: Findings Unclear impact of decentralisation on land rights generally- However some preliminary observations:  Land registration some women registered land in own names. Land owned by women has gone up from 7% in the early 1990s to 16% in the current period- but tiny minority in terms of all women  Dispute resolution – slow but steady Increase in women seeking redress with a mix of within the customary realm and LC courts But women said to often stop at low lower levels- clan & LC2 Those who can afford and have ‘proper papers’ can go to the magistrate’s court (only a few urban elite can do this

5 5 The half full glass  The LC court system represents an opening, a vent, utilised or not utilised  Increasing claims of land access  Judgements of LC courts utilise a blend of know ledges, formal statutory law, custom and norms- this may have the potential to recreate and document positive customary norms and practices that were otherwise being dumped in the ‘cold room’. The increased documentation may resurrect gender fair values into normalcy

6 6 Half full Glass…  LCs are accessible  Use of familiar language  Not legalistic  All kinds of evidence possible  No need to be represented by a lawyer NB this is not a blanket….next slide!

7 7 Half empty… the story of Mary Achola

8 8 Half Empty Namugga… (nt. real name

9 9 Nampijja (nt real name)Expanse of family land but not allowed to cultivate

10 10 Policy Implications ctd  Elaborate more and enforce section 40 (consent clause)  Unpack customary tenure  Institute safety measures for women in land disputes

11 11

12 12 Nampijja: Cabbage growing in face of restrictions on family land

13 13 The Contradictions  LCs may be too close for comfort The lowest village chairpersons have been implicated in land fraud and they connive with rich & powerful  The next level of LC2 is accused of being compromised, women intimidated as defendants and witnesses  The third level is known to be relatively impartial, But in some cases all LCs not trusted at all – increasing role of the RDCs office in land matters  RDCs office though a symbol of power not well equipped

14 14 Implications  Opening in rights claiming- but which is paradoxically clogged  More individualised women’s agency as opposed to collective agency on land rights  Women’s land rights easily trampled upon in the maze of unclear channels of accountability

15 15 Recommendations from the field  Eliminate LC1 level from land matters  Increase land service oriented organisation  Make the system more clear and responsive  Social mobilisation - Sensitize on women’s land rights  Work to increase women in key leadership positions at local level

16 16 Policy Implications  Firmly institutionalise local land services Review the structure and put in place clear and known mechanisms for land services delivery  Harmonise land adjudication- with a proper policy on remuneration and fees to restore confidence  Upgrade land knowledge services- as of now the knowledge is highly fractured  Revisit the District Land Office to deal with irregularities


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