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GETTING AGREEMENTS ON LAND TENURE/REFORM :. Getting the process right. The experience of The Uganda Land Alliance in Uganda. By Oscar Okech K. Coordinator- U.L.A. & Land Net East Africa.

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getting agreements on land tenure reform


Getting the process right. The experience of The Uganda Land Alliance in Uganda.

by oscar okech k coordinator u l a land net east africa
By Oscar Okech K. Coordinator-U.L.A. & Land Net East Africa.

Presented at a UNDP/ILC workshop on Land Rights and African Development. From Knowledge to Action , Nairobi 1st Nov. 2005 .

  • This paper examines the lobby and advocacy process undertaken by the Uganda Land Alliance in reaching agreement on land reform and the key challenges and lessons learnt in the process.
what we do
What We DO
  • The Uganda Land Alliance is a Consortium of 68 Ugandan and International NGOs , founded in 1995 to lobby and advocate for fair land laws and policies for the protection of the land rights of the poor and marginalized groups.
  • The Alliance first engaged in the Constitution making process in 1995, later the Land Act making process in 1998 and amendment in 2004.
our work on policies and the constitution
Our Work on Policies and The Constitution
  • It was also involved in the making of the draft national land use policy, 2004 and is currently involved in the national land policy making process which started in October 2005.
  • During the Constitution making process, the Alliance lobbied for customary tenure, women’s land rights and citizen’s right to control land to be included in the constitution.
our work on legal reforms
Our Work on Legal Reforms

The ULA contributed to the following legal reforms:

  • The recognition and inclusion of an agreed version of the clause on family land rights.
  • Inclusion of clauses on customary land tenure and communal land holdings/common property resources.
  • The representation of women in the land administrative structures by 1/3
  • The inclusion of the consent clause to protect spouses on family land
  • The protection of tenants from illegal evictions
  • The Land Fund for bailing out tenants on registered land and from ‘absentee landlords’.
the process how we do it
The Process. How We Do It
  • Civil Society saw a need to work together to articulate land Issues and to create an interest group that would not be ignored by policy makers.
  • The power of numbers and organization: 68 various members
  • Wider participation: Inclusiveness ensures ownership, constituency building and credibility in the eyes of the government and the public.
the process how we do it8
The Process. How We Do It
  • Clear messages:

e.g. “women are not property but land is property which women can own.”

  • Research and documentation:

In order to speak with authority

  • Sensitization and mobilization of the masses
  • Building support from the grassroots to enhance and convince in the debate was very crucial to the Alliance’s success:

To develop a rural constituency and to change attitudes.

the process how we do it9
The Process. How We Do It
  • Personal and community testimonies:

E.g. 14 Karimojong pastoralist elders on common property resources.

  • Using the Media:

The media keeps the issue on the public agenda. MPs positions exposed

  • Lobbying Key Actors, secure support from donors:

DFID, DANIDA, the World Bank, etc.

  • Lobbying Policymakers: MPs, caucuses in parliament, committees and Ministry officials.
the process how we do it10
The Process. How We Do It
  • Lobbying the President.

He is also positive about land reform and he has strong views on land too. Alliance works with friendly MPs and lobby groups to reach the President and influence his opinion.

  • Seminars and public dialogues targeting policymakers

Present research findings and demonstrate to policymakers that legislation for land rights of the poor has to be a priority.

the process how we do it11
The Process. How We Do It
  • Participation in the Draft Bill Discussions: Throughout the process of drafting the Land Act of 1998, the Alliance sought and was given audience by the Ministry of Lands to sit on the technical committee debating the Draft Land Bill. The Alliance used the opportunity to consistently ask for the inclusion in the Bill the rights of the poor on land. The Alliance submitted proposals to the technical Committee
the process how we do it12
The Process. How We Do It
  • Proposals submitted by the Alliance to the Parliament
  • Legal recognition of customary land as tenure and the registration of women’s interests on customary land.
  • Protection of common property resources
  • Spousal and children’s consent in person for any transactions on family land.
  • Spousal co-ownership of land.
  • The legal recognition of tenants on mailo land
  • The land fund
  • Representation of women on all land management and Dispute Resolution Institutions.
the process how we do it13
The Process. How we do it
  • Drafting shadow clauses:

.e.g. Co-ownership clause done with Hon. Miria Matembe

  • Building the Coalition:

Mobilise the public and other civil society to join the campaign e.g. clergy, media,

  • Test case litigation:

E.g Benet case won on 27-10-05 after out of court settlement

  • Supportive political environment.
  • Legitimacy: Our mandate has been questioned.
  • Mobilizing resources: Influencing policymakers is a necessary but expensive venture especially on sensitive issues like land.
  • Sustaining the lobby group: Meeting the expectations of members
  • Time: If its dragging, some people give up along the way. E.g. co-ownership clause 1997-2004
  • Building Consensus: Failure can lead to conflicting messages E.g. VP Kazibwe
  • Sustaining participation. Making members understand issues and be consistent in participation
  • Political support especially The President e.g. Domestic Relations Bill
  • The message: clear message and position.
  • Know the facts: Especially spokespersons
  • Documentation of the problem
  • Choose the best messenger: Should be a credible source in the eyes of the target audience
  • Importance of Working with others: The safety of numbers
  • Persistence on the issue: Policy reform is not an event but a process. E.g. Co ownership clause and the Domestic Relations Bill ‘97-2004.
  • Cultural biases: Passing laws is not enough. also need to change cultural practices and beliefs e.g. On women issues
  • Policymakers may not know the best way to go: Shifting positions e.g. co-ownership and children’s consent
  • Political Will: Government weighs its political fortunes as well e.g. with big landowners vs peasants
  • Understanding of issues by legislators: Some don’t understand the issues at hand. Therefore you have to sensitise some MPs as you lobby as well.
  • Compromise: Be prepared for it. Only way some thing positive could be put in the law.
  • Manage the process and prepare for the sticky moments. E.g. opponents. listen to them, analyse their views and turn to your advantage
  • Proper planning and organisation, including building the capacity of members to articulate the issue at all levels
  • Land law and policy making process clearly demonstrates that working together works.
  • The recognition that the Alliance got from policymakers was to a great extent due to its being seen as representing the view of civil Society in the Country.
  • The engagement of the local people as key beneficiaries is crucial to frame the issues from their perspective and derive mandate to speak on their behalf.
  • Policy reform is an ongoing process and should not be seen as one that will bring immediate results.
  • Not getting certain issues into law or policy does not mean failure, the fact that these issues come out in the open for debate and analysis is progress in the process of policy reform.
  • Finally, plan to the smallest detail and stick it but have options for flexibility.