Representatives of the Civil Society Organizations – CSOs have asked Parliament to enact pro-people land reform laws to address gender and land rights gaps in the country.
They argue that the gender differences in Uganda’s land tenure systems continue to undermine increased land productivity, provision of affordable housing, and promotion of equitable resource management as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goal – SDG 1.
Rehema Bavuma, the Country Coordinator of Fian Uganda, a research and advocacy group in Kampala says that the debates on customary and mailo land tenure systems remain contentious and the proposed land reforms threaten the citizens.
Eron Kiiza, a human rights lawyer and the Chief Executive Officer of The Environment Shield observed that there are big investment players in the country who are currently using their influence to meddle in land management affairs. He cited the ongoing Bugoma forest land battle in Hoima, Kiryandongo sugar project, and the struggle for ownership of land hosting gold mineral deposits in Bukedea District among others.
Edward Mwebaze, the Deputy Executive Director of Oxfam Uganda notes that in 2019, they undertook a study revealing that land remains a driver of inequality in Uganda that relates to especially governance and administration.
He added that in 2021, they also undertook another study that underpinned different cultural practices and norms in the country that undermines ownership and control of land by women and young people.
However, Flavia Kabahenda Rwabuhoro, a member of the Natural Resources Committee of Parliament and the Publicity Secretary for the Parliamentary Alliance on Nutritional and Food Security rallied the CSOs to write motions, petitions, and position papers to shape legislation.