CSOs ask the Environment and Natural Resources Parliamentary Committee to push for pro-people land laws that support the tenure security of all Ugandans.

Friday, November 12, 2021

12th November 2021. Today, civil society Organizations on land led by Oxfam have hosted a parliamentary seminar on Land targeting the Environment and Natural Resources Parliamentary Committee. The seminar, organized in collaboration with the Network of Public Interest Lawyers (NETPIL), was officiated by the Minister of state lands, Hon. Sam Mayanja and the speaker of Parliament, Hon. Jacob Oulanyah.

The objective of the seminar was to carry out an orientation of new members of parliament on the status of land rights in the country. Despite Uganda’s policy and legal regime relating to access, ownership, and control of land, these have not translated into an increment in women ownership, yet over 70% of women are engaged in Agriculture. According to Oxfam, less than 20% of these women have control over their agricultural output, and nationally only approximately 17% of the women own land mainly through purchase.

Inequality in land use, management, and governance continues to especially affect already marginalized communities and vulnerable people such as women. COVID-19 has further exacerbated these inequalities.

While speaking at the Land Seminar, Oxfam’s Acting Country Director, Edward Sembidde Mwebaze, said that “These inequalities are not inevitable. The question of land is a question of power and how land policies over the years have failed to address injustice and inequality. The Oxfam 2019 land report titled locked out reveals how land governance and administration contribute to inequality in Uganda.”

He added that “While we see and appreciate the Government efforts on land through the various policy and legal frameworks like the land information systems law, the framework on valuation law among others, a lot more needs to be done to protect people’s land and livelihoods.” We need to see Equality, Non-Discrimination and Secure Land Rights for Women as provided for in the Constitution and the Land Act, as well as responsible Investment Initiatives that respect the rights of the people.”

Edward concluded that “Having this seminar is crucial and timely because Members of Parliament are at the helm of drafting, reviewing, and revising land laws. We believe that after today’s discussion, they will continue to push for pro-people land laws that support the tenure security of all Ugandans.”

The Members of parliament were further asked to Ignite land reform debates on compulsory land acquisitions in Uganda and how they impact the land rights of Ugandans.