LAW 2023: Lango women call for protection of their land rights

Lira City | A cross-section of the women in the Lango sub-region have called for the government’s intervention for the protection of their land rights.

The women say the majority of them, especially widows, and women with disabilities, have been denied access to their land.

This call was raised during the launch of the 7th Annual Land Awareness Week (LAW 2023) at the Mayor’s garden, Lira City on August 28, 2023.

Hellen Auma, a resident of Lira City, notes that as women, in most cases they face marginalization and are denied the opportunity to own land.

“As widows, we often face challenges of accessing land, I want to appeal to the Non-governmental Organizations to come to our aid so that we can own land,” Auma noted.

Another woman, Aisha Bint Abdu, also a resident of Lira City, remarks that women have also been subject to harassment and domestic violence.

“We are denied access to land, you see the majority of the women around Lango do not own land, We are appealing to the government to come up with relevant laws that can protect us,” she said on Monday.

The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in partnership with Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Uganda, Eastern and Southern African Farmers Forum (ESAFF) Uganda, National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIP) and  Caritas have organized this year’s 7th Annual Land Awareness Week under the theme: Promoting Land Rights and Inclusion for Enhanced Production and Sustainable Development.

Abdunassar Olekwa, the acting commissioner of land administration from the Ministry of Land Housing and Urban Development affirmed that awareness is meant to address the landownership challenges.

Also read: Focus on Lango ahead of ‘7th Land Awareness Week’ starting August 28

“We expect that within the week the people in the Land sub-region, especially women can benefit from this campaign, We expect the majority will understand the process of registering their land, ownership,” Abdunassar said.

He further said, “We are also intentional in protecting the rights to the land of a specific group that is the women, women are key, 70% of the land is used by women, but only 15% own the lands.”

Godfrey Ngobi Salam, the High Court registrar of Lira noted that if the initiative is rolled out well it will help in mitigating cases of land being reported to court.

“We have many cases in court that are related to land ownership, we welcome the idea, and we often suffer the burden of the land cases,” Ngobi said.

Ngobi also noted that the breakdown in the cultural systems has contributed to an increased number of cases of land in the region.

Ronald Bagaga is the research and policy officer of ESAFF. He explained that the land awareness campaign is significant for Uganda at this time when the land policy is expected to undergo review.

“The findings in the land awareness week will constitute the land reforms,” he added.

Gerald Padde Auku, the program manager of Transparency International believes that issues of land rights are still key and insisted that addressing the issues of land rights has been faced with issues of corruption.

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Corruption has affected the way land issues are being addressed, in every 5 cases on land, one is always faced with corruption.

The resident district commissioner of Kole Josephine Omara noted that land conflicts have remained high in the sub-region with women taking on the burden.

“Women are not recognised as land owners when their husbands died, they don’t even write wills,” she added.

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