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Advisory on Land Justice: Begin Inquiry in Pre-Colonial Era

 

At its formation the Republic of Uganda (ROU) had no land; the land belonged to the first nations, who occupied the geography that now forms the RoU. The formation of the RoU was not negotiated amongst the first nations. Instead, it was done in line with the colonialist principal of effective occupation.

In order to acquire land for the RoU, the English colonialist deliberately suppressed the laws of the first nations. What is considered customary tenure within State Law is a concoction that the English colonialist made up in order to subjugate and undermine the laws of the first nations of Uganda.

Defining land ownership by use rights, as the first nations did, has been abandoned, and the dominant definition of land ownership is that which confers absolute individual rights over land and which treats land as a commodity.

When colonialist left the land that was prior grabbed to form the RoU was not handed back to the authorities of the first nations, but to the Government of Uganda (GoU).

This is where the rethinking of Uganda’s land question should begin; Uganda’s pre-colonial era.

Continue reading the advisory here.

This advisory is extracted from a chapter titled: “Land Tenure, Access to Land and Food Security in Uganda”, authored by Ms. Norah Owaraga. The chapter is published as pages 3-10 in a Friedrich Ebert Stiftung 2017 publication titled: “African Perspectives on Social Justice – Land, Food Security and Agriculture in Uganda.”

Photo Credit: The Observer“Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, Land Inquiry Chairperson”.

 

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