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Abby Sebina-Zziwa (PhD Anthropology)
Makerere Institute of Social Research-MISR
Tel: 0772 407 179
There is no official account of systematic monitoring of the implementation of the pre 1998 land reforms; however there is sketchy information which point to their failure.
These failures are often cited as justification for the subsequent reforms.
The post 1995 land reforms were developed with inbuilt monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
Public and Civil Society interest in matters in land matters as well as improvements in ICT has helped in the establishment of these mechanisms.
The Uganda constitution (1995) under chapter 15 laid the ground for the latest of land reforms
The Land Act 1998 further elaborates on the provisions in the constitution.
The objectives of the land reforms were mainly 4 including:
Providing security of tenure to all citizens,
Reducing conflict over land and,
Promoting the land market.
A key unique departure of the Uganda land reform from much of land reforms in sub-Saharan Africa is vesting all land in the citizens of Uganda.
It also creates 7 land administration institutions in line with the administrative structure based on the decentralization policy (1997).
the National Environment and Management Act (NEMA: Cap 153, 1995),
the Forestry Act (2001) and
the National Land Use Policy 2008 and others (mainly concerned with land management).
Besides the legal structures, there is a Land Sector Strategic Plan (LSSP) designed to provide the operational, institutional and financial framework for the implementation of the reforms.
The LSSP details the medium and long term priorities for action between 2001 and 2011 within the available and estimated resource envelope*.
The plan is divided into two phases which coincide with the Government budget process and planning horizons.
Phase I spanned from 2001 through 2004 and was expected to:
concentrate on land policy formulation,
establishment of institutional & technical frameworks and,
have a detailed plan of action.
Phase II which is from 2005-2011 is to consolidate and expand upon achievements of Phase I.
For this phase, only broad strategic directions were identified at the outset.
There are 7 Land Administration Institutions (LAIs)
Notations expand upon achievements of Phase I.
The drafting of the law was preceded with research on different aspects and this research had recommendations which were largely ignored during the debates to pass the bill in law
Similarly, many proposals from different interest groups were submitted in the drafting of the land law which were largely ignored
There was no reflection on financing of the different administration structures
Immediately following the inauguration of the land law, it was realized that the LA structure and its implementation was formidable.
The emerging issues included:
the financing of the structure,
the legal implications,
the social-economic and
the environmental implications.
Lack of funds to establish the different LAI has hampered implementation of the law leading to:
Slow or non establishment of the LAIs in many districts
Competition and conflict over financial resources
Legal implications was realized that the LA structure and its implementation was formidable.
The equation of primary (ownership) rights of the registered owner with those of the tenants (occupancy) rights.
Controversy over the powers on the state or head of state over land held in trust for the citizens
Stifling of the mortgage market
Complex litigation processes over registered land
Social-economic Implications was realized that the LA structure and its implementation was formidable.
Reduction in the demand of land services
Increased land conflicts and violence arising of evictions
Backlashes at women and disruption of families as women assert their land rights.
Stifling of planned urban development
Investment disincentives on tenanted land
Excessive land fragmentation
Rising sectarian sentiments
Environmental implications was realized that the LA structure and its implementation was formidable.
There is marked increase in encroachment on fragile ecosystems including the forests, wetlands and game parks.
Rapid environmental degradation
In ability to enforce land use planning
Rise in water borne disease particularly in urban areas
Remove barriers to increased land utilization was realized that the LA structure and its implementation was formidable.
Broadening land services to rural areas and customary land
Strengthen the land rights of the vulnerable (women and others)
Facilitating the formulation of land regulations
At least 70% of the DLBS are in place
Systematic Demarcation in 3 rural areas and extensive sensitization through various meanAchievements as per the LSSP Strategic Objectives
Empowering LGs & communities to make & implement their own policies and plans for their land
Provision of appropriate & supportive framework for sound environmental and natural resource management
Establishing and Training of LAIs (DLBS)
Facilitation of the formulation of the Land and Land Use Policies
Facilitating the formulation of other land management institutions & regulationsAchievements as per the LSSP Strategic Objectives
Monitoring and evaluation of land reforms in Uganda has been largely through documentation and critique by various stakeholders, scholars as well as the sector ministry’s own initiative.
Overall, land reform in Uganda has not yet yielded the expected results due to a number of problems.
The objectives of the land reforms have been swatted by the failure to effectively use the information available to inform choices of the reforms.