Overview about Land in Uganda
Land Overview - the Case of Uganda:
SSA:UHSNET recognises the fact that the first essential condition for a vibrant and well-functioning housing sector is the availability of residential land, in ample supply and at affordable prices. The network is working closely with other stakeholders in the sector to lobby and advocate for access to land for adequate shelter for vulnerable groups through building capacity of such groups to understand and articulate their rights to land and housing, facilitate engagement with key players involved in the issue, suggest interventions that would more effectively address the problem and generating awareness of the issues facing communities without formal access to land in urban areas.
Land is highly volatile and political issue. In Uganda, land continues to be a critical area, as it is an essential pillar for both human life and national development. The land question in Uganda has origins in the legacy of colonialism, wherein historical injustices deprived some communities of their ancestral lands that resulted in multiplicity of tenure regimes, multiple rights and interests overlapping on the same piece of land, and a heritage of evictions, arbitrary dispossession, land disputes and conflicts. Major land reform in Uganda was attempted in 1975, during the time of President Idi Amin, who issued a ruling called ‘The Land Reform Decree’ that declared all land to be public and vested the State with the power to hold land in trust for the people of Uganda, thus all land being administered by the Uganda Land Commission. It also abolished the Mailo system of land tenure and converted them into leaseholds of 99 years. These were then vested to public bodies and to 999 years where individuals held these. Although the Decree was not fully implemented, it persisted until 1995 when a new constitution was enacted, which reinstated the old tenure systems and gave land ownership back to the citizens of Uganda with the following land tenure systems: customary, freehold, Mailo and leasehold.
The Government also has also formulated a National Land Policy, through a widely consultative process. Policy proposals in this draft of the National Land Policy, among other things, seeks to re-orient the land sector in national development by articulating management co-ordination between the land sector and other productive areas to enhance the contribution of the sector to social and economic development of the country. The policy also recognizes the fact that Uganda has no human settlements and urbanization policy to guide the sector and proposes the need for government to formulate these policies in order to undertake a comprehensive plan for orderly and sustainable development.