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Land Reform Monitoring and Evaluation: The case of Uganda. Abby Sebina-Zziwa (PhD Anthropology) Makerere Institute of Social Research-MISR Tel: 0772 407 179 Email: or Outline of Presentation. Background Objectives of the Reform

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land reform monitoring and evaluation the case of uganda

Land Reform Monitoring and Evaluation: The case of Uganda

Abby Sebina-Zziwa (PhD Anthropology)

Makerere Institute of Social Research-MISR

Tel: 0772 407 179


outline of presentation
Outline of Presentation
  • Background
  • Objectives of the Reform
  • Structure of Land Administration Institutions
  • Progress of the reforms
  • Uganda has had 3 attempts of land reform since independence
  • 1969, 1975 and 1998
  • It has been 12 years since it embarked on the third one
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 poverty

 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).

In addition to the main land law, there are other statutes such as:

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.

establishment of institutional technical frameworks

Establishment of institutional & technical frameworks

There are 7 Land Administration Institutions (LAIs)

land administration structures
Land Administration Structures
  • The Uganda Land Commission (ULC),
  • District Land Tribunals (DLTs),
  • District Land Office (DLO),
  • District Land Boards (DLB),
  • Office of the Recorder,
  • Area Land Committees (ALCs) and,
  • Local Council Courts (LCII and LCIII).

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.

  • These are drawn from research, the public and official perspectives
financing implications

Financing 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

Conflicting laws

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

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

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

achievements as per the lssp strategic objectives
Remove barriers to increased land utilization

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 mean

Achievements as per the LSSP Strategic Objectives
achievements as per the lssp strategic objectives23
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 & regulations

Achievements 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.