National Land Policy Draft 4 of 18th September 2009



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Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development 


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September 2009      Kampala, Uganda 


©Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development

Parliament Avenue, Kampala, Uganda 

National Land Policy

DRAFT 4, September 2009 



This is Draft 4 of the National Land Policy, issued in September 2009. It consolidates and synchronizes views and opinions received on Draft 3, issued in 2007.  Draft 3 was subjected to comprehensive and participatory countrywide stakeholder consultations through ten (10) Regional Consultative Workshops, which covered all the districts of Uganda, and several Special Interest Groups Consultative Workshops and other consultative exchanges. Draft 4 is a combined outcome of all consultations which have taken place, on the National Land Policy, to date. Additionally, views expressed in written memoranda and other submissions received from the public in general, and specific special interest groups (in particular) have been incorporated. 

Land is a highly volatile and political issue. In Uganda, land continues to be a critical factor, as it is the most essential pillar of human existence and national development.  Uganda has never had a clearly defined and / or consolidated National Land Policy since the advent of colonialism in the nineteenth century. This policy, therefore, seeks to consolidate a number of scattered policies, which do exist on various aspects of the land question, but are diverse, sectoral and inconclusive in many respects. Additionally, efforts have been made to offer politically and socially acceptable and technically feasible solutions to Uganda’s land question, which has defied legislative norms over the years.  

The land question in Uganda has origins in the legacy of colonialism, wherein historical injustices deprived communities of their ancestral lands. The result is legal dualism in the property system, a multiplicity of tenure regimes, multiple rights and interests overlapping in the same piece of land, and a heritage of evictions, arbitrary dispossession, land disputes and conflicts. The phenomenon of land disputes and conflicts have broken across national boundaries, spread to tribal and ethnic groupings, and merged with contemporary phenomena such as the discovery of extensive deposits of mineral wealth to generate overwhelming uncertainties in land rights resulting in tenure insecurity.  In addition, land rights of vulnerable groups and land resource-dependent communities are either inadequately protected or poorly enforced. As if to aggregate the situation, land dispute resolution mechanisms have broken down and land justice has become a nightmare to many to land holders. 

In the current era, Uganda has to face the challenges of a rapidly growing population by devising means to relieve pressure and competition over scarce land resources. Such an objective would not be elusive to attain if land management was premised on a policy paradigm emphasizing sustainable and productive land use and development. However, no such policy direction is in place.  Thus, land resources have been chronically under-utilized and inefficiently managed. In the past, the Government has demonstrated continued and selective arbitrariness, inefficiency, and lack of transparency in the exercise of trustee powers over public land, government land, and public trust natural resources. Lastly, land administration is bedeviled by corruption, is inadequately resourced, and is performing very poorly in service delivery. As performance standards are eroded, the public is slowly losing confidence in the entire land administration system, which is increasingly becoming moribund and dysfunctional. The entire land sector is, therefore, in dire need of urgent reforms.  

To address these problems, the Government embarked on the process of formulation of a National Land Policy, through a widely consultative process.  The vision of the policy is: “A reformed land sector contributing to the transformation of Uganda from a subsistence – agrarian economy to a modern economy within 30 years”. The goal of the policy is to: “ensure the sustainable utilization and management of Uganda’s land resources for wealth creation, poverty reduction and overall socio-economic development”.  

Policy proposals in this draft of the National Land Policy, among other things, seek to re-orient the land sector in national development by articulating, management co-ordination between the land sector and other productive sectors to enhance the contribution of the sector to social and economic development of the country. The policy proposes a bifocal emphasis on ownership of land and land use for orderly land development. It stipulates incentives for sustainable and productive use, as well as fiscal measures to achieve the land management and land development objectives.


Issues connected to lack of clarity and certainty of land rights in all the tenure regimes by proposing measures to disentangle the multiple overlapping and conflicting rights over registered land, have been squarely addressed in this policy. Historical land injustices which led to loss of land rights by certain communities and vulnerable groups have been singled out for negotiation and restitution where necessary. The draft policy has also addressed the complexity and ambiguity in the constitutional and legal framework, governing the land relations between the Government and the citizens (who are the owners of all land in Uganda).  It is, thus, proposed that citizens exercise their residual authority over land collectively through the Parliament. It is further proposed that Government should hold and manage public land, government land and public trust natural resources in strict conformity with the generally acceptable principles of the public trust doctrine. 

This draft policy also proposes measures to overhaul the moribund and dysfunctional land administration and land management system and structures through the creation of a National Land Agency or Authority and thus, divesting most of the land administration functions. Essential reforms for stemming off escalating land conflicts and land evictions have necessitated a recommendation for re-institution of Land Tribunals and creation of a special division in the Magistrates Courts, and the High Court, for handling land disputes. Additionally, pressure for resolution of disputes will be relieved by the formal acceptance of the dual operation of both customary system and statutory system in land rights administration, land dispute resolution and land management by legally empowering customary authorities to perform these functions. 

Under this policy, the Ministry responsible for lands will continue to perform residual roles including policy formulation and implementation, resource mobilization, standard setting and quality control, and monitoring and evaluation. Implementation of the Land Policy requires building of in-house capacity. It is proposed that the National Land Policy Secretariat be transformed into the Land Reform Unit to plan and implement the proposed measures and interventions working in partnership with all other stakeholders. 

By way structural contents, Chapter 1 presents the Introduction; Chapter 2 gives the Conceptual Framework for the Land Policy while Chapter 3 covers the Constitutional and Legal Framework.  Chapter 4 presents the Land Tenure  Framework; Chapter 5 the Land Rights Administration Framework while Chapter 6 covers the Land Use and Management Framework.  Chapter 7 overviews the Regional and International Framework for management of land and land-related issues while Chapter 7 outlines the Framework for Implementation of the Land Policy.




    1. This is Draft 4 of the National Land Policy and consolidates and synchronizes views and opinions received with regard to Draft 3.  Draft 3 was subjected to comprehensive and participatory countrywide stakeholder consultations through ten (10) Regional Consultative Workshops which covered all the districts and several Special Interest Groups Consultative Workshops and other consultative exchanges. Draft 4 is a combined outflow of all consultations which have taken place to date and in it are also incorporated views from written memoranda and submissions received from the public in general, and specific special interest groups (in particular).



    2. Land is the basic resource in terms of the space it provides, the environmental resources it contains and supports, and the capital it represents and generates.  It is a commercial asset that can be used and traded. It is a critical factor of production. It is an essential part of the national patrimony; and is a key factor in shaping individual and collective identity through its history, the cultural expressions and idioms with which it is associated. It influences spirituality and aesthetic values of all human societies. Land is perhaps, the most essential pillar of human existence and national development. 
    3. The land sector is the bedrock of all development and is therefore expected to play a crucial role in the development of other sectors and, especially, in provision of leverage for efforts in poverty reduction, the promotion of governance and social justice, political accountability and democratic governance, the management of conflict and ecological stress and sustainable transformation of the economy as a whole.


1.2.1 Overview

    4. Land is a highly volatile and political issue, and its control continues to be a critical factor, of growing importance in Uganda’s development. A number of scattered policies do indeed exist on various aspects of the land question, but these are diverse, sectoral and inconclusive in many respects. This policy, therefore, seeks to consolidate the different aspects of scattered policy that define the land question in Uganda, which often defy legislative norm, to offer politically palatable and technically conclusive answers to support land sector reforms.  
    5. Post-independence and recent attempts to settle the land question in the form the Land Decree 1975, the 1995 Constitution of Uganda, and the Land Act 1998 failed to deal with the fundamental issues underlying land tenure relations in Uganda with entirety. The primary reason for this was not simply that the Constitution had set the parameters for the new land law. It was also because no clear policy principles existed to inform legislators in the enactment of that law, a situation that the national land policy must rectify. Therefore, in this policy key issues touching on (1) historical injustices and colonial legacies, (2) contemporary issues, mainly arising from such legacies; and specifically, (3) land use and land management issues are squarely addressed. 

1.2.2 Historical Injustices and Colonial Legacy 


    6. The advent of colonialism left a historical legacy structured around land relations and management. In the first place, colonialists introduced individualised ownership of property rights in land previously held either communally or the basis of sovereign trustees. In the process, an intricate system of political relationships was legitimized, a new system of property ownership intended to supersede existing indigenous land rights systems was super-imposed over the existing traditional systems of land management thus a duality in systems of property rights management and a multiplicity of land tenure systems. The time is now, for the policy to decide whether, a break from the colonial past is necessary or the accepted future lays in individualized land tenures systems. 
    7. In other parts of the country outside the kingdom areas, customary tenure was left to continue existing but the indigenous people were made tenants at will of the colonial government and thus customary tenure was not given a chance to evolve properly. A prudent decision has to be arrived at, whether to continue with multiple systems of land ownership (tenure) or to aspire for one tenure regime, in addition, the duality of management systems has to be harmonized, integrated or hybridized.  

Mailo Land Tenure

    8. Perhaps the most critical and challenging elements, courtesy of a colonial legacy, are to do with disentangling the multiple tenure rights and interests, overlapping in the same piece of land. At the time of creation of mailo and native freeholds, pre-existing private interests of smallholders under customary tenure, mainly usufruct (land use) rights were not legally recognized. This multi-layered structure of rights has become a defining characteristic of the complexity of contemporary land relations which exist today. It has been largely blamed for the escalating land conflicts and evictions in the central region. For the policy, the question lies in determining who holds superior rights over the other, the tenant or the landowner?  
    9. In addition, in case one of the interests has to be extinguished in order for the ancillary to subsist, the terms and mechanisms for this dissolution and transition (including the costs) must be defined in this policy.  In the alternate, that the above multiple rights cannot be resolved in the immediate, the relationship between the registered land owners and the occupants, which has been the subject of legislative norm since 1928 under the Busuulu and Envujjo Law and the Ankole and Toro Landlord and Laws, has to be further considered to make it is harmonious and amicable. 
    10. The landlord-tenant relationship as enacted under the Land Act, Cap 227 has become very controversial and the controversy resolves mainly around two issues: the rights conferred on the tenants and the rent payable. Given that the Land (Amendment) Bill, 2007 has encountered resistance from some quarters and has, thus, evolved into a contentious issue of its own, the policy has to review the structural problems which have continued to sour the landlord / tenant relationship and defied all previously-attempted solutions.  The policy should come out with principles to guide legislation on the landlord/tenant relationship on registered land. 

The 9,000 Square Miles

    11. The Buganda Kingdom has been making persistent demand for the return of its public land, the so called ‘9000 square miles’, the 1500 square miles of forests, and the 160 square miles of official estates (including land at county and sub-county headquarters), which land was confiscated by the central government in 1967 and vested in the Uganda Land Commission.   
    12. The Traditional Rulers (Restitution of Assets and Properties) Act, 1993 which returned immediately some assets and properties specified in the schedule of the Act, made provision that the rest of properties and assets not included in the schedule to be returned following negotiations between the government and the traditional rulers.  This matter has continued to strain the relationship between the government and the Buganda Kingdom as it resurfaces from time to time.  It is a matter that the land policy must fix in terms of principles in the interest of achieving social harmony and social justice, given the commitments under the 1993 Statute. 

The Kibaale Land Question

    13. The historical Kibaale land question, which should have been fixed by the 1964 Referendum on the counties of Buyaga and Bugangaizi, has defied solutions time and again.  It became a very contentious issue in the Constituent Assembly (1993-95) as the new Constitution of Uganda of 1995 was being debated.  Over the years, the land issue in Kibaale has further been complicated by Government resettlement schemes in 1973 and 1992 respectively, and the incessant immigration and settlement by other non-indigenous Banyoro whom are referred to as “bafuruki”. What started off as a land question has steadily translated into a political question as the immigrants started gaining political ascendancy.  The resentment has, in the recent past, raised political tensions and ethnic conflicts, which from time to time have turned violent.   
    14. Currently, the essence of the problem is:  indigenous Banyoro are worried that they may never be able to rescue their ancestral land which is formally held by absentee Baganda landlords in mailo tenure that is now increasingly being taken over by the “bafuruki”.   Additionally, public land in Kibaale land has suffered a similar fate.  Since the passing of the Land Act 1998, the Government has paid off some absentee landlords, but due to limited budget allocations, the bigger part of the mailo land is yet to be bought out.  Distribution and sharing of the re-possessed land is yet to be resolved.  The Mubende Banyoro Committee is arguing that the re-possessed land should only be granted to the lawful occupants who are Banyoro.  The land issue has been further complicated by the immigrants encroaching massively on public land in the form of forest reserves.  

1.2.3 Contemporary Issues 

    Gender and Development
    15. Uganda is hailed for having some of the best policy, constitutional and legal frameworks relating to gender, and particularly to women’s land rights. Despite having ratified several international human rights instruments on gender equality and protection of women’s land rights, the implementation and enforcement mechanisms are still lacking. Although traditions, customs and practices which discriminate women in matters of access, use and ownership of land have been outlawed by both the Constitution and the Land Act, the practice does not acknowledge these changes. Culture and custom, for example, continue to support inheritance of land rights to men and women’s rights continue to be tenuous, as they are usually only enjoyed at the mercy of their male relatives.   
    16. Women activists have been lobbying unsuccessfully since the debate on the Land Bill in 1998 for a clause in the land law for spousal co-ownership of land. The fate of this clause is not certain since the Domestic Relations Bill 2007 supposed to incorporate it has since bounced back to the Executive, as some sections of the Bill became very controversial and contentious when it was presented to Parliament.  Furthermore, the marriage law and succession law are still discriminatory against women. Efforts by civil society organization in a test-case litigation, debarred sections of the laws, creating a legal lacuna; thus, urgent reforms are needed.  

Land Disputes and Conflicts

    17. Land disputes and conflicts have become part of the definition of contemporary Uganda.  Trans-state boundary disputes are on the rise; there are now several boundary disputes or conflicts between districts; there are several hot spots of ethnic land conflicts; conflicts between pastoralists and agriculturalists are on the rise in some districts. Land disputes or conflicts and evictions on registered land between the registered land owners and the occupants are also on the rise.  
    18. In the recent past, there has been a wave of encroachment on protected areas mainly on forest reserves, wetlands and national parks. Efforts of government agencies to protect and conserve these vital ecosystems have often resulted in conflicts with the encroachers, with some of the conflicts turning violent and fatal.  
    19. Dispute or conflict management systems, structures and mechanisms are now overwhelmed.   The prime challenge lies in tackling the root or structural causes of the land disputes and conflicts, many of which revolve around historical injustices. The current explosion is to a large extent a manifestation of frictions arising from unjust actions in the past which created uncertainty and insecurity in land rights. The other challenge is to devise a conflict management framework and comprehensive land dispute resolution mechanisms which are legitimate, accessible and cost-effective. 
    20. The rise in disputes and conflicts also needs to be understood within the increasing population hence pressure on land, projected to be 30 million by 2008, growing at a rate 3.4% per annum and estimated to be 32.4 million for 2009, projected to shoot up to 39.3 million in the year 2015 and 54.9 million in 2025. With such enormous population increases, the old rules are no longer sufficient to maintain cordial relations between users and owners of land, the conflicts arise naturally due to competing uses to which land is put.   
    21. The land policy, therefore, has to provide ways of relieving the pressure off the land, because six times as many people are trying to survive on the land and natural resources than there were 60 years ago. Alternatives lie in developing a vibrant services sector and industrial sector to offer alternatives to rural agricultural land use. For the urban areas, the alternative lies with an urbanization policy to provide the rationale for urban land use. The ultimate solution lies in transforming the land sector to drive other productive sectors in the economy. 

Oil in the Albertine Graben

    22. The recent discovery of oil and petroleum deposits in the Albertine Graben has generated excitement in Uganda regarding the promise the resource may yield and the probable economic windfall in the energy sub-sector, its contribution to national economy and social well-being.  Article 244 of the Constitution vests all minerals and petroleum in the Government on behalf of the Republic of Uganda.  Citizens of Uganda feel strongly that these vital resources should instead be vested in the State in trust for the common good of all citizens. This calls for the amendment of the Constitution.  
    23. As anticipated, the rush to secure land in these oil- rich areas is threatening communal lands which are neither demarcated/surveyed nor titled.  The policy should ensure that the land rights of the indigenous communities are secured and protected against land grabbing which has already been reported in these areas. Owners of land in the oil areas need to formalize their land rights in order to benefit from sharing of royalties as provided for under Article 244 of the Constitution.   
    24. In the event of oil companies and/or Government acquiring the land for production or processing of petroleum, the owners of land need to have ascertainable interests in land to benefit from the market value of the land. Likewise, it will be essential for oil companies and/or government to acquire land for the processing of petroleum (processing facilities and refineries) and transportation (oil and gas processing facilities and refineries). All these tenure, compensation, displacement and resettlement issues have to be fixed within the land policy framework. 
    Land Rights and Pastoral Communities
    25. Land rights of pastoral communities and ethnic minorities have registered exploitation for a long time.  Many pastoral  communities and ethnic minorities have lost their land rights to conservation projects, mainly national parks and other government projects, for example government ranches.  This has led to depletion of their resources or landlessness. Privatization of communal grazing lands and other pastoral resources has forced some pastoral communities and ethnic minorities to invade other people’s land or to encroach on protected areas, in their neighborhood. 

1.2.4 Issues of Land Use and Land Management 

    Ownership Rights
    26. Although the recently-launched National Land Use Policy has made attempts to harmonize aspects related to regulation of land use as regards standards and guidelines for sustainable management of land resources, it was incapable, by its very nature, of dealing with tenure issues that have bogged down most of the related land use sectors and land-based natural resources sectors, thus making implementation of land use policies a likely nightmare.  
    27. For instance, vesting wetlands in the State in trust for the citizens of Uganda, without sorting out the ownership rights that existed at the time of vesting, bogged down the implementation of the wetlands policy to some extent as some people and communities still hold legal and valid titles to these wetlands resources.  Enforcing wise land use will not suffice, by itself, and evicting people and communities that legally own these wetlands before the 1995 Constitution, without compensation, may amount to violation of their land rights without due  to the constitutionally-entrenched principle of “sanctity of property”.  

The Land Administration System

    28. As corruption eats away performance standards and provides cracks for fraud to flourish, land services delivery has become slow, cumbersome, frustrating and is too costly to the public. The land administration system is now moribund and dysfunctional in many areas. It is bedeviled by corruption, inadequately resourced and performing poorly in service delivery.  Decentralized services are very thin on the ground and have failed to perform to their expectations.  The dual system of land administration (statutory and customary/traditional) needs to be harmonized and rationalized to remove the existing gaps, conflicts, confusion and overlapping mandates.  

Common Natural Resources

    29. The 1995 Constitution created a trust over specified important natural resources (natural lakes, rivers, wetlands, forest reserves, game reserves and national parks) by vesting them in the State to hold in trust and protect for the common good of all citizens of Uganda.  The legal effect of these provisions was to remove these important natural resources from the absolute ownership of the government and vested them in the public realm.  The Land Act explicitly prohibits the Government, or local government, from leasing out or otherwise alienating any of these natural resources, except by way of a concession, licence or permit.   
    30. The Ugandan public has generally been concerned about how the State has misused and abused trust beneficiary relationship. In the recent past, the State has attempted to abrogate the fiduciary relationship between the State and the citizens created under the Constitution and reaffirmed under the Land Act.  The public has been concerned about the abuse of the trust by the State and the general administrative abuses in the natural resources management. The policy has to fix identifiable loopholes and any existing contradictions in the natural resources management laws and provide for use and management of these public trust resources on the basis of well-established principles of the public trust doctrine. 

Land for Investment

    31. The Government has a duty to attract private investment both domestic and foreign, into productive sectors of the economy.  This duty includes creating an enabling investment climate, including facilitating investors to access land. One of the major concerns in the land sector today, is the allocation of government land, public land, and natural resources held by the State in trust for the citizens, for private investment.  Such land allocations have taken place amidst an environment of incoherent and/or non-existent and non- implemented policies or non-transparent systems and processes.  This in effect, weakened institutions governing use and management of these lands and natural resources.   
    32. In most cases, the allocations have not considered the ecological, environmental, economic and social impacts, as such allocations have resulted in displacement of the vulnerable land and natural-resource-dependent communities, whose rights of land access, food security and livelihoods are lost. The primary question for the land policy is how to achieve objective of private sector investment promotion without compromising land rights of the vulnerable sections of society as well as the environment.  Secondly, what safeguards should be put in place to ensure that for any land held by the government, or in trust by the State, allocation of such land is carried out in a transparent and accountable manner and in public interest?  
    Idle Land-Holding
    33. Currently, plenty of land lies idle and undeveloped both in rural and urban areas of Uganda.  In effect, there is no urge, on the part of holders of such land, to develop it because they are not compelled to do so.  At the same time, many people in Uganda do not have enough (or any) land, even though they may have the ability to invest in its development.   
    34. In the course of receipt of submissions from the public, it was evident that many people were opposed to the practice of holding large tracks of land for prestige or speculative purposes while serious developers, or landless people are without land.  In order to compel the holders of such idle and undeveloped land, to put it to use, the matter of land taxation needs to be explored. However, in furtherance of this land use obligation, great care has to be taken not to levy taxes on those who preserve part of their land for the purpose of protecting and conserving the environment.   
    35. For the National Land Policy, principles to do with taxation of land need to be squarely addressed. For instance, would it be all land to be taxed or would it be only idle or un-utilized land, vacant land, or un-developed land? In addition, such land for taxation purposes would take into account due regard for social protection and disability. Furthermore, it has to be discerned whether such a tax would be effective in regulating speculative accumulation of land through a national tax or a local government tax. 



    36. A national land policy framework is essential for the sustainable management of land resources, since it is known that the majority of Ugandans are dependent on land for employment and survival. It is crucial for an integrated and effective, system responding to a wide variety of intra-sectoral variables between the land sector and other productive sectors in the economy, to be in place.  
    37. Without a comprehensive policy, it is a challenge to confront the fact that land is a factor of production influenced by and interacting with macro-level policy processes and strategies, whose strategic management is important for significant and sustainable economic growth and social transformation. The rationale for a national land policy in Uganda, therefore, rests on the reasons below. 

Isolated Land “Policies”

    38. Firstly, isolated policies, not fully integrated in one comprehensive document and policy gaps on special issues of importance to the land sector, do exist in Uganda. Land issues feature in documents on agricultural policy, in environmental policy, in natural resources management policy and legislation, in policy for private sector development and industrialization, housing, and transport infrastructure. Having various sources of policy without having a consolidated policy document has led to a situation in which different aspects of land policy conflicting as regards decisions and laws.     
    39. In addition, the regulatory framework remains ambiguous on many sector-level issues and the modalities it prescribes for solutions to problems identified in each sub-sector quite often overlap, leading to grave administrative conflicts and bureaucratic competition for responsibility and resources on the ground. There is, therefore, a need to review all policies relating to land and to harmonize them, within the framework of a common horizontal denominator because of their sub-sectoral foci, they have been enacted in response to isolated policy sectoral demands.  

Historical Complexities

    40. Secondly, land issues in their historical complexity do not appear to have been satisfactorily resolved despite numerous pronouncements in the land sector. The Constitution of Uganda 1995, among other things, brought in fundamental reforms in the ownership, tenure and management of land. It provides important basic policy principles, which were expanded upon in the Land Act 1998.  
    41. However, substantial ambiguity within the Constitution and legislation as to the content and viability of property rights under various tenure categories is still apparent, despite the  fact that the Land Act 1998, was expected to resolve them. It would also appear as if the Land Act was enacted without exhausting all the critical issues; thus, the Land Act itself has become a major problem which policy must seek to resolve. 

Land Degradation

    42. Thirdly, land degradation continues to be a serious phenomenon within Uganda mostly in the highlands and the cattle corridor. Although growth has been registered in some parts of the country, this has come at great cost to the quality of land resources.  It is estimated, for example, that land deterioration accounts for over 80% of the annual costs of environmental damage, in Uganda, a state which the country can hardly afford. In addition, land reserved for conservation purposes continue to pose challenges as regards, bio-diversity protection and heritage preservation. Demands exerted by population growth and settlement expansion have placed wildlife resources, catchment areas, forests and wetlands at risk despite the existence of legislation on these issues. 

Land is a Basic Developmental Resource

    43. Fourthly, acknowledging the centrality of land in the overall social and economic development process in Uganda calls for the development of an integrated policy for the land sector and the identification of effective inter-linkages between the land and other productive sectors, hence the focus on regulating use and development of land. However, the current structure of the land tenure systems in Uganda, which concentrates on property rights per se, should not blur the necessity for a more fundamental objective that is to shape the nature of the land use systems, by which the diverse needs for human settlement, production and conservation can be harmonized. This cannot be done without a comprehensive land sector policy nor can it be suspended any longer.   

Paradigm Shift from Mere Ownership to Development

    44. Fifthly, there is a need to re-focus the discourse on land reform, from over-emphasis on property rights per se, to its essential resource value in development. This is critical, as land resources remain chronically under-utilized and inefficiently managed at present. The continued growth of the country will require a coherent and pragmatic approach to land use planning and management. This can only be attained by confronting a number of challenges.  
    45. These challenges relate to land both as property and as a resource that is fundamental to economic development in Uganda: 
    1. As property, the challenge is to design and universalize a system of tenure that would instill confidence in individuals, communities, and institutions which own or desire to accumulate land as an asset. The direct implication of such an undertaking is the requirement to deal with multiple tenure regimes, encumbered with a complex web of interlocking and overlapping rights on land and tenure relations drawing legitimacy from both indigenous and statutory law.


    1. As a development resource, agricultural land in Uganda has not always been optimally and sustainably used. The primary reason is that indigenous agriculture was always and still is neglected by the State, a fact which continues to contribute to the under-development of that sector. Ever since the colonial period, agricultural “policy” has continued to be structured around peasant farming.  This needs to change and be guided to free the land for extensive agricultural production, by creating alternatives in the services and industrial sectors.

International Obligations

    46. Lastly, Uganda is a party to a large body of international and regional conventions, treaties and declarations dealing with human rights issues, human settlements, land and environmental governance, and shared aquatic, terrestrial and other trans-boundary resources which require adherence to specific principles in the management of the land sector. These instruments call for establishment of an international framework for land use and land management and environmental governance with countries party to them, which Uganda is expected to comply with.  
    47. Among issues identified by these instruments is the need to:
      1. avert poverty and extreme hunger;
      2. manage global climate change through domestic policies and strategies;
      3. guarantee national food security;
      4. conserve biodiversity, and to ensure environmental sustainability;
      5. resolve resource conflicts arising from trans-boundary movements of population and animal species;
      6. ensure gender equality and equity;
      7. respect and protect human rights.



    48. The Government of Uganda initiated the process for development of the National Land Policy in 1983 under the Agricultural Policy Committee of the Agricultural Secretariat in the central Bank of Uganda. It noted that successful policy on land is that which recognizes how traditional land tenure has evolved and guides future evolution by encouraging changes that are beneficial and preventing changes that are harmful.  
    49. Appointment of the Constitutional Review Commission, in 1988, more popularly known as the Odoki Commission, surpassed the work of the Agricultural Policy Committee. It made broad recommendations for constitutional reforms, which lay firm policy principles regarding what constitutes a good land tenure policy in Uganda. The most fundamental of changes out of the work of the Odoki Commission is enshrined in Article 237 (1) of the 1995 Constitution, which, in break from the past, declared land to belong to the citizens of Uganda, making Uganda the first State in Sub-Saharan Africa to vest its “radical title” in its Citizens. Extensive changes were also introduced in land administration and land dispute resolution.  
    50. The 1998 Land Act, legislatively actualized most of the reforms provided for in the 1995 Constitution, while the Land Sector Strategic Plan (LSSP) 2001-2011 provided the implementation framework for execution of sector wide reforms in the land sector. One of the strategic objectives under LSSP was the development of a national land policy to serve as a systematic frame work for addressing the role of land in national development, land ownership, distribution, utilization, alienability, management and control.  
    51. In 2001, a National Land Policy Working Group (NLPWG) was instituted under the Ministry responsible for lands to steer the policy-making process. The NLPWG produced an Issues Paper for the National Land Policy in 2002. Simultaneously, the Government of Uganda also published the Constitutional Review Report by Ssempebwa Commission in 2003, which intensely implored, the adoption of a comprehensive land policy to harmonize the diverse needs for human settlement, production and conservation, by adopting best practice in land utilization for purposes of growth in the agricultural, industrial, and technological sectors taking into account population trends, without losing control over the structuring of land tenure systems.  
    52. Taking note of the opinions of the Odoki Commission, the Ssempebwa Commission, the first draft of the National Land Policy was produced in 2005, circulated and discussed amongst the NLPWG and professionals in the land sector.  The same was subsequently progressed into a Draft Three, which was circulated for public debate and structured consultations in 2006. Consultations, aimed to obtain stakeholder inputs and consensus, on basis of Draft Three of the National Land Policy were carried out. Memoranda and submissions were received from various institutions, including civil society organizations and Ugandans in the diaspora. Government agencies, charged with regulation of land use and planning, and departments responsible for enforcement of land laws, and the maintenance of law and order, were also consulted.  
    53. While consultations were still on-going, the Government of Uganda gazetted the Land Act (Amendment) Bill 2007 as a stop-gap measure to curb escalating land conflicts and evictions due to public outcry on land grabbing, forceful evictions and grave associated crimes. The Bill drew extensive public comments from various parts of the country, and was wrongly viewed as a scheme to grab land.



    54. Given the land question in Uganda, the national land policy principally tackles the re-orientation of the land sector to fulfilling its logically function to state advancement by re-examining the conceptually deficiency in land management, which is based on ownership rather than development, hence the need to shift emphasis from ownership of land to access to land for sustainable use and development. The policy, therefore, addresses the lack of management co-ordination between land and other productive sectors.


    55. Reforms are also directed towards the creation of clarity and certainty of land rights in the four tenure categories which in most instances has led to tenure insecurity. In so doing, aspects to do with complexity and ambiguity in the constitutional and legal framework relating to ownership, control and management of land resources are dealt with. In another dimension, tenure insecurity is also driven by overlapping and multiple rights which the policy seeks to conclusively resolve.  
    56. Steps in this direction take note of the increasing pressure on land resources due to rapid population growth, severe deterioration in land quality and degradation of land resources due to unsustainable land use practices and encroachment on forests and wetlands and chronic under-utilization of agricultural and low agricultural productivity. Reforms also aim to restore confidence in public trustee, by defining the rules of engagement to curtail that abuse of public trusteeship over public trust resources (vested in the state under Article 237 of the Constitution), government land and public land. Land policy reforms also seek to address historical injustices which led to loss of land rights by certain communities and vulnerable groups. 
    57. Change is also necessary with regard to uncontrolled, improperly planned and chaotic urbanization with mushrooming informal settlements all over the country. Modification and revision of the poor regulatory enforcement mechanisms in the land sector, land-use sectors and natural resources/environmental sector is at heart of change in land use and land development.  
    58. The policy also seeks to overhaul the moribund and dysfunctional land administration and land management systems and structures (which are characterized by inadequate capacity for service delivery, corruption, and fraud). In addition, measures are taken to revamp weak and inefficient mechanisms for fair, timely and affordable land dispute resolution mechanisms. These structural changes are crucial to stemming the escalating land conflicts and land evictions throughout the country. Dualism in land tenure and land administration systems (customary and statutory) has led to conflicts and serious deficiencies in land delivery services, hence the need to harmonize the systems. 
    59. Finally, in this National Land Policy, effective and structured response mechanisms to all of Uganda’s land-related regional and international commitments and obligations are addressed.



    60. The critical policy issues covered by the draft National Land Policy have been clustered below by the:
    1. Conceptual framework detailing strategic focus of the National Land Policy and the role of the land sector in national development;
    2. Constitutional and legal status of land resources;
    3. Land tenure framework;
    4. Land rights administration framework;
    5. Land use and Land Management framework;
    6. Regional and International Policy framework; and
    7. Land Policy Implementation Framework.


    61. Policy is, essentially, a system of agreed principles.  In this document, for each issue identified, a brief statement of the problem is made, followed by a policy statement (or statements), and then proposed policy implementation strategies. 
    62. In arriving at each policy statement and strategy, the draft policy has taken into account the following criteria:
    1. analysis and synthesis of views received from the consultation process;
    2. professional suitability and workability of the policy options proposed and feasibility for implementation, including the possibility of outputs jeopardizing the process of socio-economic development of  Uganda as an entity;
    3. analysis being evidence-based and cost efficiency in implementation;
    4. consistency with the vision, goal and objectives of the national land policy;
    5. principles in the existing legal and regulatory framework, which have been tested and conform to the vision, goal and objectives of this policy;
    6. international “best practices” from:
      1. approximation to regional (especially East African) practices as well as African Union Guidelines to Member States on formulating of Land Policies;
      1. past and current experiences of other countries;
      2. Land-related regional and international conventions to which Uganda is a party to; as well as;
    1. Expert opinion.



Background Statement

    63. This framework is to do with the contribution of the land sector to overall economic development and poverty reduction in Uganda. It is based on the acknowledged role of land and centrality of the land sector in social and economic development, although this is often never fully articulated as the leverage for economic growth and employment creation, across all productive sectors.  

Problem Statement

    64. Since independence of Uganda (in 1962), a deficiency in articulating the position of the land sector in national development, by detailing a shared vision, goal, objectives and principles for the systematic re-alignment of land reforms towards sustainable management of land and its resources, has persisted. In addition, this framework has to provide the direction, reform for all productive sectors, in utilization of land as the resource base for their productivity through effective cross-sectoral linkages.



    65. The Vision of this policy is: “A reformed land sector contributing to the transformation of Uganda from a subsistence – agrarian economy to a modern economy within 30 years”. 
    66. Uganda aspires to transit from a subsistence agro-based (agrarian) economy to a modern economy that is driven by industrialization, urbanization and a vibrant services sector. This vision is driven by the acknowledgement of the centrality of the land sector as bed-rock for all development, since it is the leverage across other productive sectors in economic growth and employment creation. The reforms envisaged in the national land policy will not only relieve pressure off the land, but also contribute to urbanization, industrialization and overall development in the services sector.



    67. The goal of the National Land Policy is: “to ensure sustainable utilization and management of Uganda’s land resources for wealth creation, poverty reduction and overall socio-economic development”. 

68. The objectives of the National Land Policy are to:

    1. stimulate the contribution of the land sector to overall socio- economic development, wealth creation and poverty eradication in Uganda;
    2. harmonize and streamline the complex tenure regimes in Uganda for equitable access to land and security of tenure;
    3. clarify the complex and ambiguous constitutional and legal framework  for sustainable management and stewardship of land resources;
    4. resolve historical injustices to achieve balanced growth and social equity;
    5. reform and streamline land rights administration to ensure efficient, effective and equitable delivery of land services;
    6. ensure sustainable utilization and management of environmental, natural and cultural resources on land for national socio-economic development
    7. ensure planned, environmentally-friendly, affordable and well-distributed human settlements for both rural and urban areas, including infrastructure development;
    8. harmonize all land-related policies and laws, and strengthen institutional capacity at all levels of Government for sustainable management of land resources.



    69. The principles below underpinned and guide the national land policy:
    1. Land policy must guarantee the right to own land either individually or in association with others;
    2. Land policy must address all the multiple social, cultural, economic, ecological and political functions of land;
    3. Land must be productively used and sustainably managed  for increased contribution to economic productivity and commercial competitiveness;
    4. Use and development of land must contribute to poverty reduction, as land is a basic resource central to the overall development agenda of Uganda;
    5. Access to land by all Ugandans must reflect concern with equity and justice irrespective of gender; whether through the market or through any system of inheritance, customary or statutory;
    6. Management of land resources must contribute to democratic governance, peace-making and security, by nurturing institutions and procedures for resolution of land disputes and conflicts;
    7. Management of land resources must mitigate environmental effects, reverse decline in soil quality and land quality;
    8. Land policy must guide the development of policies in other productive sectors; it is an important determinant of the health and vitality of all sectors and sub-sectors which depend on land for productivity;
    9. Land sector operations must be fully costed, financed and provided with adequate support services infrastructure;
    10. Civil society organizations and the private sector must work hand in hand with government actors to achieve the vision, goal and objectives of the land sector.


2.4.1 Refocusing to sustainable and optimal use of land


    70. Since 1900 to-date, almost (if not all) legislation on land in Uganda has focused on ownership-cum-property rights. It is necessary to have as a feature, land development in addition to legislating over land ownership in order to enhance the role of the land sector in national development, by granting purposive ownership of land oriented towards optimal land use and sustainable land development.  
    71. There is need to ensure a gradually shift from practicing subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture, so that an estimated 31% of peasants, who live on less than one dollar per day, can come out of poverty using land as their major input resource. This implies the integration of land use regulation, transformation of land users with greater emphasis on urbanization, and orientation to commercial agriculture. It requires enhanced land planning, land management and enforcement of land use regulation throughout the country.   

Policy Statement

    72. The Land Sector shall increase its contribution to economic productivity and commercial competitiveness, by facilitating land use regulation and land development for wealth creation and overall socio-economic development. 


73. Measures will be put in place to:

    1. fully integrate the land sector into the overall development planning of the country, through identification and articulation of effective linkages within the national planning framework;
    2. sort out the land ownership rights, interests and issues as the starting point before proceeding to development aspects;
    3. enhance access to land for large-scale commercial investments without prejudicing security of tenure for the vulnerable groups;
    4. design appropriate public policies and incentives to improve the efficiency of small-holder farming, through the use of production intensive technologies that do not jeopardize the environment;
    5. design appropriate public policies and incentives to deal with labour and credit for agricultural productivity;
    6. have periodic audit of land needs to ensure that the livelihoods of the poor are not compromised;
    7. put in place measures to manage rapid population growth so as to relieve pressure on land resources;
    8. facilitate central government agencies and  local governments  to adopt and enforce standardized land use planning and land development practices for orderly development;
    9. strengthen community level institutions for effective management of land and the imposition of punitive tax to prevent unproductive accumulation of land, curb land speculation and put unutilized land to production;
    10. Ensure that the poor are protected from activities which deny them access to land resources and the infrastructure necessary for productive use.

2.4.2 Integration of the land sector with other productive sectors


    74. Land is an important determinant of the health and vitality of sectors and sub-sectors which depend on it for productivity. Among these are agriculture, livestock, energy, minerals, water, wildlife, forestry, and human settlements.  It is expected to play a vital role in the development of other sectors by providing leverage for efforts aimed at poverty reduction, the promotion of governance and social justice, political accountability and democratic governance, the management of conflict and ecological stress and the modernization of the economy as whole. 
    75. Land, in Uganda, needs to be managed as a basic cross-sectoral resource, through strong and cost effective cross-sectoral institutionalization.  This requires the integration of the land sector fully into the overall macro level planning, through identification of effective linkages with other productive sectors in order to ensure increased contribution of land to economic growth and development as well as commercial competitiveness. 

Policy Statements

    76. (a) Policy reforms will ensure that the land sector facilitates growth in other
      productive sectors and makes an effective contribution to national development. 
    1. Land in Uganda will be managed as a basic resource, through effective cross-sectoral institutional arrangements


    77. Measures will be put in place to ensure that:
    1. detailed sectoral and sub-sectoral policies and management systems consistent with the provisions of the national land policy are developed and operationalized;
    2. the central government and local governments are in a position to provide the land resources required for development in all productive sectors of the economy;
    3. developments in productive sectors do not lead to the deterioration of the quality of land resources;
    4. continual review of performance of land and other related productive sectors is conducted to monitor their mutual contribution to and impact on each other; and take into consideration local, regional and global changes with regard to natural resource management;
    5. sufficient resources for the development and management of the land sector and all related productive sub-sectors are constantly available;
    6. civic education and motivation of stakeholders and professionals in land management and administration are undertaken for successful integration of the land sector with other sectors.



Background Statement

    78. This framework concerns itself with the sovereign powers of the State in relation to land as contained in the: radical title, eminent domain (compulsory acquisition), police power of the State, the doctrine of trusteeship, and the power of taxation. It aims to clarify ambiguities in constitutional provisions relating to land that articulate the role of the state in land management. The land question in Uganda has always been at the centre of the constitutional and legal discourse. The result is that land issues are mired in a bed of complex constitutional structures and processes, drawing legitimacy from historical as well as contemporary political exigencies.   

Problem Statement

    79. Over the years, the central government and local governments have demonstrated systematic arbitrariness, inefficiency, and lack of transparency in the exercise of these powers, at the risk of some communities becoming landless and in continuous land conflicts with their neighbors. The State, therefore, has become both an inefficient land manager as well as a predator on land which belongs to ordinary land users.  
    80. In particular, the constitutional and legal framework lacks clarity with respect to:
    1. the implications of shifting radical title to land from the State to the citizens of Uganda at large;
    2. the proper role of the central government and local governments in land use and development control (the police power of the state);
    3. land taxation;
    4. the scope and exercise of the power of compulsory acquisition of land;
    5. management and use of public land and government land; and
    6. public trusteeship over natural resources (the public trust doctrine)



    81. Although the Constitution 1995 and the Land Act 1998, by vesting land in the citizens of Uganda at large, resolved an important historical anachronism in the land law of country namely, the location of radical title, it also created serious ambiguities in how land as a property is dealt with1.  
    82. First, it not entirely clear how the citizens of Uganda, individually or collectively, can assert residual authority against the State, local authorities, and community governance organs in respect of land which is not owned by any body or any authority. Second, in what manner can the citizens collectively exercise the residual sovereignty over all land? Third, authority to allocate land, which the law vests in District Land Boards, does not appear to rest on any recognized reversionary title. Indeed, citizens of Uganda are beginning to question the legal foundation and proprietary of these powers. Fourth, on what grounds does the government continue to guarantee “any title to land” when the radical title is vested in the citizens. 

Policy Statement

    83. The radical title in Uganda shall continue to vest in the Citizens of Uganda. It shall be exercised by the Parliament of Uganda as a trustee of the Citizens of Uganda. 


84. Measures will be taken to:

    1. clarify by amending the Constitution of Uganda article 237 (1) and the Land Act 227, to name the persona to exercise this power on behalf of the Citizens of Uganda as the Parliament of Uganda under procedures prescribed in an Act of Parliament;
    2. ensure that the District Land Boards continue to hold the reversionary interest in trust for the Citizens of Uganda on terms and conditions to be prescribed by Parliament and shall be accountable to the Parliament of Uganda;
    3. guarantee “any title to land” in Uganda through an Act of Parliament.



    85. The Constitution empowers the Government or a Local Government to acquire land in public interest provided the acquisition is necessary for public use or in the interest of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health and subject to prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation, prior to the taking of possession or acquisition of the property.   
    86 In the past, the power of compulsory acquisition has not been exercised responsibly and strictly in the public interest, in all cases. It has also been extended to local governments without sufficient capacity to exercise it. In addition, Government cannot legally acquire land compulsorily in the interest of physical planning or to resettle the landless and yet these are legitimate grounds for compulsory acquisition of land 

Policy Statements

    87. (a) The State shall exercise the power of compulsory acquisition responsibly and
      strictly in public interest, with approval of the Parliament of Uganda as a trustee for the Citizens of Uganda. 
    1. The scope for exercise of the power of compulsory acquisition shall be extended to include resettlement, physical planning, and orderly development.


88. The Constitution, the Land Act and the Land Acquisition Act will be amended to:

    1. expand the scope of the power of compulsory acquisition to include acquisition of land in the interest of  resettlement, orderly development and physical planning;
    2. limit the power to the Central Government which will exercise this power in consultation with the persona or agency holding the radical title on behalf of the citizens of Uganda;
    3. prescribe a uniform method for the exercise of the power of compulsory acquisition and the payment of prompt, adequate and fair compensation irrespective of tenure category;
    4. establish mechanisms to develop the capacity of local governments in respect of conditions and terms for compensation, before extending the exercise of this power to them;
    5. prescribe, in a set of regulations and guidelines, the roles and responsibilities of the different state organs and agencies in the exercise of this power.

89. Formulate a National Resettlement Policy.



    90. It is the residual duty of the State to ensure that the way a land-owner uses his/her land does not sabotage the public welfare and/or orderly development.  This doctrine of the police power of the state suppresses or limits undesirable land use without revoking ownership of the land.  This power is derived from the Constitution (Articles 242 and 245) and it is extended to local governments. Over the years, the State and local authorities have been inefficient and lacked transparency in the exercise of this power.   
    91. Four issues arise:
    1. The State has hardly exercised this power responsibly and strictly (in the public interest or otherwise).
    2. This power has been extended to local governments, without adequate guidelines or planning framework at the district or regional levels.
    3. The very nature of this power implies its exercise is split across sub-sectors of natural resources, thus a complex, internally-fragmented, conflictual, bureaucratic and highly-centralized system without effective coordination and cross-sectoral institutionalization.
    4. The split across the different sub-sectors is also blamed for inefficient enforcement and widespread disregard of legislation and regulations on land use/physical planning regulations, environment, and natural resources throughout the country. In addition regulations have been limited to urban areas instead of a uniform application.

Policy Statement

    92. The State shall exercise the power of public regulation of land use, strictly in the interest of socio-economic welfare and development. 


93. Measures will be taken to:

    1. prescribe guidelines for the exercise of the police power by the Central Government and local governments for purposes of harmony in application by all actors;
    2. ensure the use of police power by state agencies takes account of sub-sectoral policies and laws on land use, the environment and natural resources;
    3. Review existing legislations expressing the police power of the state to conform with the provisions of the national land policy;
    4. Educate the public on the need for public regulation of land use and overall goals and merits of public regulation;
    5. Ensure compliance with the laws and regulations for land use, both in urban and rural areas by securing compliance through incentives and rewards as well as through sanctions and penalties.



    94. Currently, land taxation is the least developed of the sovereign powers of the State provided for in the Constitution of Uganda.  There is no traditionally known land tax on idle and/or undeveloped land; for both rural and urban land, except for property rates/service rates in local governments for urban areas.   
    95. The necessity for land taxation as a policy initiative rests on the need to release land to users, by compelling owners who cannot develop it, to release idle or undeveloped or under developed land. Taxation will compel the holders of idle or undeveloped land to think of ways to develop their land.   

Policy Statement

    96. The State shall introduce a land tax on idle and/or un-utilized land and / or under utilized land to be administered by local governments to induce land utilization and deter speculative accumulation of land.  


97. The government will put in place measures to:

      1. introduce a legal framework for effective and efficient land tax to be administered by local governments;
      2. determine land  eligible for taxation through an audit and inventory;
      3. design and implement incentives to improve the ability of land owners to comply with land taxation by promoting the use of leaseholds;
      4. exempt some categories of land on the basis of:
        1. minimum acreage for rural and urban areas;
        2. social protection and equity; and
        3. disability.



    98. The 1995 Constitution of Uganda, under Article 237(1)(b) vests natural lakes, rivers, wetlands, forest reserves, game reserves, national parks and any land to be reserved for ecological and tourist purposes in the State in trust for the people to protect for the common good of all citizens.  The Land Act, under section 44 prohibits the leasing or otherwise alienation of any of the above natural resources.  Government can only grant concessions or licenses or permits in respect of these natural resources. 
    99. The key concern is to eliminate the grey line between “trustee” and “owner” as a trustee simply holds the corpus of the trust while exercising fiduciary duties to the citizens of Uganda who are the beneficiaries of the trust. Hence:
    1. There is need to specify how the Citizens of Uganda may obtain or share access to these resources.
    2. The Citizens of Uganda, as owners of these important resources, question the adequacy of the current legal framework and safeguards, under which so much administrative abuse and political interference in the management and use of these resources, have occasioned extensive degeneration of these vital natural resources.
    3. There are no regulations or guidelines to govern the management and use of these resources by the State as the trustee, including accountability and transparency principles; this has resulted in rampant breach of the public trust doctrine.
    4. Rules that delineate the rights, roles, obligations of the citizens and mandates of government and government institutions, are at present incoherent and need to be systematized.

Policy Statement

    100. The State shall manage and protect the natural resources held under public trust for the common good of all the Citizens of Uganda. 


101. Legislature reforms and other measure will be put in place to:

    1. extend the scope of land resources to be held by the State in trust for the common good of the citizens to include sensitive ecosystems, marginal lands and hilltops;
    2. specify, in an Act of Parliament, the terms and conditions upon which the state or its established agencies shall manage and use these resources in conformity with well-established principles of the public trust doctrine to stem abuse in the exercise of these powers;
    3. review the regulatory framework for natural resources to clarify and specify guidelines on who may have access to what natural resources products and define the rights of access/use guaranteed to the communities living in such areas;
    4. ensure that the Government as public trustees for these specified natural resources protects, manages and develops these resources sustainably for the common good of all the citizens;
    5. clarify, in an Act of Parliament, criteria for gazettement and degazettement of the natural resources held in trust;
    6. ensure large-scale investment decisions and activities do not compromise the sustainable management and conversation of natural resources;
    7. institutionalize mechanisms, for the joint management and sharing of benefits from natural resources between the trustee and beneficiaries;
    8. institutionalize mechanisms for the joint and participatory management of natural resources with communities owning or contiguous to land in or over which these resources are situated.



    102. The Uganda Land Commission has powers under the Constitution to hold and manage any land vested in or acquired by the Government (including land acquired abroad). The exact location of such land and its tenure status, are not, specified nor do mechanisms exist for identifying or adjudicating such land. It is to be assumed that such land includes land used by government agencies to perform core functions of government, use by government agencies, road reserves and land carrying public infrastructure.  
    103. There is no clear distinction in the legislation between government land and public land, thus four issues arise:
    1. There are no clear regulations and guidelines to control the management and use, including disposal of these lands in the Constitution or in the laws of Uganda.
    2. Government has been disposing of government land and public land to investors and individuals as if they are one and the same without regard to the public interest and the principles of transparency and accountability.  Government presently deals with government land and public land as if the two estates are held for the beneficial interest of government as an institution.
    3. District Land Boards operate as if they are owners of the public land which they hold whereas, in fact, they “hold it in trust” this land on behalf of the citizens of Uganda.
    4. Lastly, the status of land reserved for refugee settlements is not clear in policy and law and it is a source of conflict between the government and neighboring communities, as well as between the refugees and the citizens.
    Policy Statements
    104. (a) As a matter of principle, a clear distinction is hereby drawn between public
          land and government land.  
      (b) Government land shall be, land vested in or acquired by the government in accordance with the Constitution, or acquired by the government abroad. Government land includes all land lawfully held, occupied and/or used by government and its agencies, including parastatal bodies for the purposes of carrying out the core functions of government. Government shall include central and local governments. 
      (c) Public land shall be, land reserved  or held and used for a public purpose, which includes public open spaces and land on which public infrastructure is housed.  It also includes land which is not owned by any person or authority (Article 241(1) (a) of the Constitution) and land with a reversionary interest held by the District Land Boards which was granted in leasehold by a former controlling authority (as per Section 59 of the Land Act). 


105. Through an Act of Parliament, Government shall:

    1. differentiate between government land and public land; 
    2. define the manner in which government or local government will hold and manage such land taking into account the principles of public trusteeship, transparency and accountability;
    3. define the terms and conditions under which such land may be acquired, used or otherwise disposed by the government and local governments;
    4. enable the State to re-possess public land or government land, “nibbled away” or given away in an illegal or irregular manner

106. Government will through legislative and other measures:

    1. adjudicate, survey, register or title these lands in the names of Uganda Land Commission or local governments;
    2. commission an audit on all land currently gazetted as refugee resettlement schemes to assess current and future needs and redistribute any superfluous land to the assessed needs, to landless citizens and/or communities; and
    3. ensure that District Land Boards hold and manage land entrusted to them by the Constitution and the Land Act as trustees for the citizens of Uganda.



    107. Article 244 of the Constitution (a result of the 2005 constitutional amendments) vests petroleum and minerals resources in Government on behalf of the Republic of Uganda. This is a contradictory location considering the fact that radical title is held by the Citizens of Uganda. There need to confirm with the location of the radical title by vesting these critical resources in the State to hold in trust for the citizens of Uganda as government changes hands, but the State does not.  

Policy Statement

    108. Minerals and Petroleum being strategic natural resources shall vest in the State for the beneficial interest of all the citizens of Uganda.


109. Measures will be taken to:

    1. Amend Article 244 of the Constitution which vests minerals and petroleum in the Government on behalf of the Republic of Uganda, to vest these strategic natural resources in the State under the public trust doctrine for the benefit of the citizens of Uganda;
    2. Adopt an open policy on information concerning prospecting and mining of these resources to the public;
    3. Allow to the extent possible, co-existence of individuals and communities owning land in areas where petroleum and minerals are discovered with extraction activity;
    4. Protect the land rights of individuals and communities owning land in areas where mineral and petroleum deposits exist or are discovered.



    110.-. The Constitution and the Land Act provide that land in Uganda may be held in four tenure categories only, namely customary, freehold, mailo and leasehold tenure.  The incidents of these tenure regimes (other than leasehold) are defined in terms of generalities which establish no particular frontiers. The apparent finality with which the incidents of each tenure category  is defined in the Land Act leaves little room for transitional or progressive adaptation in response among other things, to changing demands exerted by population growth, technological development and rapid urbanization.  The result is likely to be the growth and expansion of informal or secondary land rights regimes in both urban and rural areas.  
    111. The classification has left many issues unresolved in the operation of the property rights system in the country:
    1. Does this classification add any value, was it necessary or even adequate.
    2. Whether the categories of tenure regimes known to property law of Uganda are closed.
    3. If there is any essential difference between freehold, mailo and even customary tenure; and
    4. Whether it is possible for those regimes to develop incidents akin to another without the intervention of the state or its agencies?

Policy Statement

    112. The four tenure systems will remain as enshrined in the Constitution; but the nature of property rights under the designated tenure regimes will be clarified to remove uncertainties. 
    113. In order to clarify the tenure regimes, the Constitution, the Land Act and other relevant laws will be amended to:
    1. allow tenure regimes to evolve and develop appropriate incidents in response to changes in social structures, technologies of land use and market demands;
    2. permit inter-convertibility of tenure rights in response to changes in social structures, technologies of land use and ecological imperatives;
    3. enable primary tenure regimes (i.e. freehold, customary tenure and mailo) to develop their own unique incidents in response to time, circumstance and durability, without stipulation for one way directional conversion to freehold tenure;
    4. re-affirm and strengthen the legitimacy of socially and culturally acceptable tenure systems as a means of preserving access rights to common property resources;
    5. allow recognition and strengthening of the land rights of women, children and other minorities under all tenure regimes in existence and in emerging new ones;




Background Statement

    114. This framework concerns itself with the assessment of tenure regimes in terms of structure, along the four tenure systems of mailo, freehold, leasehold and customary tenure. It also deals with attributes of tenure regimes that impinge on and confer security for land users and temporal control over specified land resources in respect of the use functions for which such access is required or obtained.  
    Problem Statement
    115.  There is need to review the proviso for inter-convertibility of other tenures into freehold, to take cognizance of experiences from elsewhere since customary tenure has remained popular and persisted to the extent that its values and principles are known to undermine the operations of statutory regimes, to a large extent.  Furthermore, diverse changes have occurred in contemporary Uganda, distressing tenure regimes in ways that create tenure insecurity and uncertainty. For this policy, focus is on enhanced planning, management, and enforcement of land use regulation in all tenure regimes.



    116. There are three ways of classifying land tenure regimes.  The first is in terms of the legal regime governing tenure, i.e. whether the regime is statutory (formal) or customary (informal).  The second is in terms of the manner in which such land is used, i.e. whether as private, public, or government land.  The third is in terms of the quantum of rights held i.e. whether absolute (timeless-bound) or time-bound.   
    117. The Constitution and the Land Act have classified land tenure only in terms of the first and last of these.  Both provide that land in Uganda may be held in terms of four tenure categories, namely customary, freehold, mailo, and leasehold.  The two legal instruments have not classified land tenure in terms of the manner nor the purpose for which such land is held whether as private, government, public, government, or community. 

Policy Statements

    118.  (a) Land will be categorized as Private Land, Public Land and Government
    1. Each land tenure system will be defined in details and ensure that all tenure regimes, recognized under law, confer social, economic and political security to land owners, occupiers, and users.


    1. Regulate use of land under all tenure systems by exercising the regulatory power of the State and its agencies for orderly development.


    119. Reform of tenure regimes will be guided by a number of principles, including:
    1. a good land tenure system must guarantee access and security of tenure,
    2. a good land tenure system must ensure equity in the distribution of land resources, eliminate discrimination in ownership and transmission of land resources, and preserve and conserve resources for future generations;
    3. a good land tenure system must develop and evolve in response to competing social, economic and political demands, rather than policies keen on simple replacement models;
    4. a good land tenure system must protect natural resources;
    5. a good tenure system must facilitate planning, provision of basic services and infrastructure, and management and enforcement of land use regulation throughout the country.


120. Legislative and other measures will be put in place to:

    1. remove all structural and normative impediments internal to the operation of each tenure system;
    2. guarantee that access to land by way of transfer or transmission does not deny any person rights in land on the basis of gender, ethnicity, or social and economic status;
    3. ensure equity in the distribution of land resources, and preserve and conserve resources for future generations;
    4. ensure that systems of tenure which confer absolute ownership do not operate as a vehicle for speculative accumulation of land by the elite or deprive the poor, their access rights.


    121. The Constitution and the Land Act restored the status of customary land tenure by recognizing it as one of the four tenure regimes.  The Land Act enumerates the incidents of customary tenure to include its territorial or clan nature, existence of rules and regulations governing community, family, and individual rights to land, and perpetual ownership of land.  The Constitution and the Land Act also provide that customary tenure may be converted to freehold.   
    122. Customary land tenure is a complex system of land relations, the incidents of which are not always capable of precise definition. There are a lot of prejudices, misconceptions, myths, unfounded beliefs and allegations against the customary land tenure system.  Customary tenure is said to bring three problems, viz that (i) it does not provide security of tenure for land owners;  (ii) it impedes development because it does not allow the development of the land market, through which those who need land for development can acquire it; (iii) it discriminates against women, and does not accord them land rights. 
    123. There is partial recognition of customary tenure in law, as the incidents enumerated by the Land Act, do not recognize the essential characteristics of customary land tenure namely that:
    1. right to land is a function of community, lineage and family membership;
    2. rights to land though universal, is specific to a function or group of functions;
    3. allocation of and control of use of land are part and parcel of community governance; and
    4. trans–generational rights to land are protected through rules of exchange and transmission designed to keep land resources within communities, lineages and families.


    124. Despite the recognition in law, in practice customary tenure is regarded and treated as inferior, to other forms of registered property rights.   Problem areas for customary land tenure are as below: 
      (i) The majority of Ugandans, hold land in this tenure; yet they find their land considered as not being at par, in value, compared to other tenures;
      (ii) As a secondary effect, courts of law in the administration of justice still assess it as lesser to other tenures that have titles for proof of ownership;
    (iii) Titling of customary tenure and its conversion to freehold is still contentious;
      (iv) Lastly, there is need for greater and deeper understanding of the customary tenure system as a basis for sustainable and rapid socio-economic transformation. 

Policy Statement

    125. Customary tenure will be strengthened to facilitate and promote its orderly evolution into a progressive and productive land tenure system.  
    126. Facilitate the evolution of customary tenure as an important framework for land rights definition and use through measures and programmes to:
    1. document customary land tenure rules applicable to specific communities at the district or sub-county levels;
    2. design and implement a land registry system for the systematic adjudication and demarcation of land rights under customary tenure with an option for registration of land rights;
    3. inventorise and vest common property resources  in communities to be managed under customary law.


    127. Design and enact a legislative framework to facilitate the orderly development and evolution of customary law, measures will be taken to:
    1. amend the Land Act Cap 227 and the Constitution 1995, with regard to the conversion of customary land tenure to freehold to permit only land owned individually to be converted to freehold;
    2. amend the Registration of Titles Act. Cap 230 to incorporate Constitutional changes that place customary tenure at par with other tenure systems;
    3. develop procedures in conformity with customary land law for the allocation and redistribution of land so as to prevent the emergence of inequalities and injustices;
    4. modify the rules of transmission of land rights under customary land tenure to guarantee gender equality and equity;
    5. recognize the role of customary institutions in making rules governing land, resolving disputes and protecting land rights;
    6. make provision for joint ownership of family  land by spouses;
    7. define individual land rights, from communal rights under customary land tenure and distinguish the rights and obligations of customary institutions vis-à-vis those of the community and individuals.


    128. To strengthen traditional land management and administrative institutions, measures will be taken to:
    1. recognize and enforce decisions of traditional land management by local government and State institutions; 
    2. ensure full judicial backing for traditional institutions as mechanisms of first instance in respect of land rights allocation, use regulation and dispute processing for land under customary tenure.



    129. Mailo and native freeholds are subject to the rights of occupiers or kibanja holders. Both separate the ownership of land from occupancy or ownership of developments by “lawful or bonafide” occupants, guaranteed by the Land Act 1998. The kibanja holder has option to purchase and, thus, move up to the mailo or freehold title status. The Land Act also guarantees statutory protection to the kibanja holder and his or her successors against any eviction as long as the prescribed nominal ground rent is paid. 
    130. The definition and the rights accorded to bonafide occupants lack legitimacy on part of land owners. The landlord tenant relationship as currently enacted under the Land Act is a source of contention.  The nominal ground provided for under the Land Act as opposed to economic rent is also a bone of contention. Overall, the overlapping and conflicting rights in the same piece of land have created a land use deadlock between the statutory tenants and the registered land owner. These multiple and overlapping interests and rights over the same piece of land have also lead to conflicts and many times evictions. There is therefore, a need, to disentangle these overlapping rights and interests as well as creating amicable and harmonious landlord – tenant relations. 

Policy Statement

    131. The State shall take legislative and other measures to resolve and disentangle the multiple, overlapping and conflicting interests and rights on mailo tenure and native freehold tenure.


    132. In order to remove the land use impasse between the occupants and the registered land owners, the following measures will be taken to:
    1. institutionalize and promote the principle and practice of land sharing and land re-adjustment between the registered land owner and occupant;
    2. promote free negotiations between the two parties for one party to surrender his/her land rights and interests at an agreed price;
    3. facilitate either party (tenant or landlord) to access the Land Fund to purchase the  interest of the other party on a loan basis;
    4. make provision in the land law for fair and just compensation adjudicated by courts of law/land tribunals to be paid to the tenant;
    5. purchase, the interest of the registered land owner, the land occupied by tenants, using the Land Fund and sell the interest to the tenants, based on social justice and equity considerations and devise a system of recovering the money from the tenants.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               


    133. In order to ensure a just, equitable and amicable landlord-tenant relationship, the following measures will be taken:
    1. re-define bonafide occupant and the rights accorded to such occupants (taking into account adverse possession principles and disability principle);
    2. ensure the right of the registered land owner to rent commensurate with the value of the land
    3. restore the right of the land owner to negotiate fair tenancy terms
    4. in the event of amicable negotiations failing, the rent will be fixed by a competent court/tribunal based on:
      1. the right of the registered land owner to rent commensurate with the value of the land;
      1. the right of the tenant to a source of livelihood;
      2. the circumstances of initial occupancy or entry on the land; and
      3. size of the land occupied by the tenant.


    134. In event of sale of registered land occupied by tenants, the liabilities and obligations thereon shall be transferred automatically to the new registered land owner.



    135. About five percent of households in Uganda hold land under this tenure2.  The incidents of freehold tenure, which are basically standard, include the conferment of a full power of disposition, and compulsory registration of title in perpetuity. It is clear that public policy regards freehold as the property regime of the future, to the extent that current law provides for conversion from leasehold tenure or customary tenure to freehold. This stipulation is contentious in some areas of the country. Where it has been tested, it has been expensive, as it requires substantial resources for adjudication, consolidation, and registration. In some instances, freehold poses challenges to regulation as its covenants are not conditional.  

Policy Statement

    136. The State shall exercise its regulatory power on freehold tenure to ensure compliance with planning regulations for orderly development.  


    137. The following measures will be taken:
    1. impose, through an Act of Parliament conditional covenants on freehold land tenure to regulate it’s use and development..



    138. Leasehold involves the derivation and enjoyment of land rights from a superior title in exchange for conditions, including but not limited to, the payment of rent. The 1995 Constitution (under Article 237 (5)) provides that any lease, which was granted to a Uganda citizen out of former public land, may be converted into freehold. This constitutional provision is lacking in guiding principles with regard to:
    1. Leaseholds issued to individuals who held land under customary tenure before the 1995 Constitution; in all fairness, these leaseholds should be automatically converted to freehold, since customary tenure is now recognized legally as tenure with land rights in perpetuity.
    2. In instances where leaseholds have been accidentally granted to customary owners in respect of their holdings after the 1995 Constitution, these also ought to be converted to freehold automatically, since their land rights in perpetuity are already confirmed.
    3. However, leaseholds granted out of former public land without any customary rights should not be converted to freehold; since they were not based on recognition of an existing customary tenure, they should continue to run as leasehold, with the citizens of Uganda keeping the reversionary interest.


    139. However, the above notwithstanding, leaseholds have the potential to be used extensively to promote sophisticated forms of concurrent ownership such as condominiums and time-share arrangements, as they open land to a much larger range of users and use functions. 

Policy Statement

    140. Leaseholds will be promoted as the basic instrument for access to land in all tenure systems. 


141. Measures will be put in place to:

    1. Convert all leaseholds, issued to customary tenants over their personal land holdings before the 1995 Constitution, to freehold;
    2. Convert all leaseholds, issued to customary owners over their personal land holdings after the 1995 Constitution to freehold;
    3. Limit the conversion of leaseholds, issued out of former public land, to freehold;
    4. Encourage the utilization of leasehold in respect of all land tenure categories through the provision of simplified standard format;
    5. ensure all leasehold arrangements are registered or recorded, as appropriate, in state registries;
    6. limit the duration of leasehold over public land not exceeding 99 years or periods consistent with specific development requirements whichever is lesser;
    7. provide standards for exercise of reversionary rights to comply first-option-of- renewal to the current lessee on public leaseholds.



    142. In most instances these resources situate on land owned privately by individuals and communities. Common property resources are usually managed through institutional arrangements, customs, and social conventions, designed to induce co-operative solutions to issues of access and benefit-sharing. The Land Act and the 1995 Constitution, do not take into account the role of local communities in the preservation and management of common property resources.  Common Property Resources (especially communal grazing land) have in the past been grabbed, sold illegally or individualized by some members of the local communities.   
    Policy Statements
    143. (a) Existing laws and regulations on the management of common property
      resources will be reformed to ensure complementarity with community practices. 
    1. Government shall ensure that land-based resources whose ownership is vested in a private entity or community are managed sustainably.


144. Government will take measures to institute the following reforms:

    1. identify and gazette access routes or corridors to common property resources (often encroached upon and individualized) for public use;
    2. enact appropriate legislation to clarify who may have access to what categories of common property resources and how such access may be secured;
    3. identify, document and gazette all common property resources wherever located and irrespective of their tenure status;
    4. ensure that common property resources exclusively used by or available to particular communities are directly held and managed by them;
    5. develop mechanisms which will mediate between state, local authorities, communities and individual interests in particular common property resources,
    6. facilitate communities and their traditional institutions to register and legalize their ownership over common property resources;
    7. build capacity for management of common property resources by Local Governments and Communities by recognizing and regularizing their roles.



    145. In Uganda, the land rights of minority groups as ancestral and traditional owners, users and custodians of the various natural habitats are not acknowledged even though their survival is dependent upon access to natural resources. They hold experiences and knowledge in maintaining balanced eco-systems and sustainable use passed on from generation to generation. Protection of their rights to access land and natural resources is fundamental for the survival of minority groups, because they occupy land on the basis of precarious and unprotected land rights systems, which expose them to constant evictions, removals and displacements.  
    146. Establishment of national parks and conservation areas, as well as large scale commercial enterprises such as mining, logging, commercial plantations, oil exploration, dam construction etc, is often under taken at the expense of the rights of such ethnic minorities. Except for forestry, the criteria for setting aside land for conservation are not entirely well established or known. The manner of loss and dispossession is often heavy-handed eviction undertaken without informing, consulting or offering them any reparations. The management of protected areas is largely in the hands of the Government, which at the same time has power and authority to regulate the use of land held under any tenure. 

Policy Statement

    147. Government shall in its use and management of natural resources, recognize the land rights of minorities to their ancestral lands. 


148. Measures will be taken to:

    1. establish regulations by Statutory Instrument to:
      1. recognize  land tenure rights of  minorities in ancestral lands,
      1. document and protect such de facto occupation rights against arbitrary evictions or displacements,
      2. consider land swapping or compensation or resettlement in the event of expropriation of ancestral land of minorities  for conservation purposes,
      3. detail terms and conditions for displacement of minorities from their ancestral lands in the interest of conservation or natural resources extraction;
    1. deliberate and specify benefit-sharing measures to ensure that minority groups benefit from resources that accrue from other industry such as tourism using their ancestral lands;
    2. establish criteria for gazetting and de-gazetting of conservation areas, cognizant of the vital role that natural resources and habitats play in the livelihood of minority groups.



    149. Pastoral communities occupy rangelands which are harsh in terms of both climate and ecology. Although rangelands occupy a significant proportion of the total land area estimated at 84,000 sq km (43% of the total land area), many of them have been significantly degraded. Today, rangelands have shrunk to a fraction of what they used to be 3 decades ago, given the invasion and proliferation of cultivation into areas only suitable for grazing. Land invasions or grabbing and “illegal” land buying by nomadic pastoralists in their quest for resources are causing tenure insecurity.  
    150. In addition, pastoralists have been progressively rendered landless by successive individual, private and government agency actions, following the alienation of their grazing areas for establishment of national parks, wildlife reserves, protected areas, government military, and ranching schemes. This has reduced access to land resources and constrained mobility, a key ingredient in managing the low net productivity, unpredictability and risk on rangelands under large acreage. Mobility often leads to conflict with neighboring communities over grazing and water resources. There is need to mitigate the severity of competition and conflict over pastoral resources. 

Policy Statement

    151. Land rights of pastoral communities will be guaranteed and protected by the State. 


152. Legislative and measures will be taken to:

    1. ensure that pastoral lands are held, owned and controlled by designated pastoral communities as common property under customary tenure;
    2. prescribe clear principles for the ownership, control and management of pastoral lands in a pastoralism policy by the Ministry responsible for Agriculture;
    3. ensure zoning to establish appropriate pastoral resource areas and access, maintaining an equitable balance between the use of land for pasture, agriculture, and for wildlife protection;
    4. develop particular projects for adaptation and reclamation of pastoral lands for sustainable productivity and improved livelihood of communities; 
    5. establish mechanisms for flexible and negotiated cross-border access to pastoral resources among clans, lineages and communities for their mutual benefit;
    6. protect pastoral lands from indiscriminate appropriation by individuals or corporate institutions under the guise of investment;
    7. consider restitution, compensation or resettlement of pastoral communities who have lost land to government over years;
    8. open access to grazing land among the pastoralists by promoting development of Communal Land Associations and use of communal land management schemes.


    153. In Uganda, women are generally unable to own or inherit land due to restrictive practices under customary land tenure or are not economically (and adequately) endowed to purchase rights in the market. Attempts to redress this situation by outlawing discriminatory cultures, customs and practices in land ownership, occupation and use, and further requiring spousal consent to transactions involving family land in the Constitution and Land Act, have not been effective due to failure in implementation and enforcement of these provisions. In general, customs continue to override statutory law over recognition and enforcement of women’s land rights. While the Land Act caters for legal wives to some extent, it does not assign the responsibility for protecting land rights of widows, divorcees, women in co-habitation, and children. 
    154. The Divorce Act and the Succession Act have been subject to strategic litigation by the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA), and Law and Advocacy for Women in Uganda, respectively. Constitutional Court decisions in respect of these petitions, have nullified sections of laws charged with realization and ascertainment of land rights for vulnerable groups, especially women and children, including the processes to guarantee rights (asset stripping / grabbing, death of spouse, polygamy and bride price, property etc). These land mark court decisions are yet to be legislated into law. Despite having ratified several international instruments on human rights, there is a distinct gap between what is in law on paper and what is in practice, mainly because standards and values ascribed to are not respected.  

Policy Statements

    155. (a) Government shall undertake further legislative measures to protect the
      rights of access to, inheritance and ownership of land for women and children. 
    1. The Government shall address the existing gender inequality and ensure that both men and women enjoy equal rights to land before marriage, in marriage, after marriage, and at succession, without discrimination.


156. Government will review and regulate customary law and practices to:

    1. ensure rules and procedures relating to succession do not impede transmission of land to women and children
    2. reform customs, traditions and customs  which discriminate against women and children with respect to access, use and ownership of land;
    3. ensure family land is held in trust for the family and restore the power of traditional leaders in matters of land administration, conditional on their sensitivity to rights of vulnerable groups.


    157. Government will take measures to reform statutory law and uphold the principles of gender equity and equality, in order to:
    1. design and implement a regime of matrimonial property law aimed at the protection of spouses both within and outside marriages and make legal provision for spousal co-ownership of family land and matrimonial home;
    2. enforce the  land rights of women and children to succession by overhauling the succession law;
    3. amend the Land Act provisions to restore the consent clause to protect children;
    4. presume the existence of marriage for purpose of securing the property rights of spouses who have acquired property in cohabitation;
    5. provide for widows and orphans to inherit family land.

158. The Government will take special measures to:

    1. mainstream gender into development planning and in all decision-making structures and processes relating to access and use of land so as to improve the status of women;
    2. reform the property laws of the country, including those considered “gender neutral” to ensure equality and equity in ownership and control of land;
    3. domesticate all international conventions, which outlaw discrimination against women and children and enforce all the principles therein;
    4. support the formation of the Equal Opportunities Commission as a specialized institution to advocate for and, where relevant, implement strategies in the National Land Policy;
    5. solicit the support of religious leaders and cultural leaders to accept and implement measures in the national land policy designed to protect the rights of women and children.


    159. Uganda land tenure systems have presented a major hurdle in supply of decent housing stock, especially in urban areas. Most land in urban areas, on which housing is either constructed by landlords or by tenants (who have occupancy rights using their own savings), is privately-owned. Land tenure has been blamed for working to the detriment of orderly development, and growth, by allowing access to land on a limited, temporary or illegal basis. It is, therefore, common for slum dwellers, who are part of the urban fabric (because of their substantive contribution to urban economy) to settle in marginal areas with high environmental concerns and health hazards under precarious conditions in urban and peri-urban areas.  

Policy Statement

    160. Government will provide a framework for regularizing land tenure for dwellers in informal settlements and slums. 


161. Measures will be undertaken to: 

    1. mainstream informal sector activities in overall urban and rural development plans;
    2. accord statutory security to informal sector activities without compromising physical planning standards and requirements;
    3. providing social infrastructure for informal sector  developments; and
    4. encourage land-users in the informal sector to acquire more secure tenure rights through the market, individually or as communities;
    5. regulate sub-division of land in urban and peri-urban areas to guarantee the maintenance of economic security in the land sector;
    6. promote and confer legitimacy to the land use activities of the urban poor especially in relation to agriculture and silviculture;
    7. provide affordable infrastructure for self-improvement by the urban poor.



    162. This category recognizes the land rights of persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, persons-with–disability, and land rights of internally-displaced persons. These groups are prone to loss of land and are threatened by landlessness due to poverty induced asset transfers, distress land sales, evictions, land grabbing and abuse of land inheritance procedures. These groups are exposed to eviction and displacement. 
    Policy Statement
    163. Legislation and management practices shall accord all vulnerable groups equal land rights in acquisition, transmission, and use of land. 


    164. Legislative and other measures will be put in place to:
    1. protect the rights of all vulnerable groups (including, internally displaced persons, persons-with-disability, persons affected and infected by HIV/AIDS)  in all the tenure systems in Uganda;
    2. guarantee that access to land, by way of transfer or transmission, is not denied to any one on the basis of gender, ethnicity, or social and economic status;
    3. prevent the appropriation of the land rights of vulnerable groups through regulation and control of the rural land market;
    4. mitigate the distress land sales involving persons affected and infected by HIV/AIDS;
    5. sensitize and encourage vulnerable groups to hold their ownership rights and interests in family or community trusts.



    165. The Traditional Rulers (Restitution of Assets and Properties) Act Cap 247, laid the foundation for the return of land and properties which were confiscated in the 1967 by the Central Government to the Traditional Rulers.. The assets outlined in the schedule of the statute were directly returned to the Traditional Ruler of Buganda. The interest restored was equivalent to that held by the Uganda Land Commission at the time of restoration. It also provided that the assets and properties not specified in the schedule were to be returned following negotiations between the Government and the Traditional Rulers concerned as may be agreed.  
    166. The Kingdom of Bunyoro and Busoga have, among others, put forward demand for the return of their “ebyeitu” and “ebyaife” (properties of their Traditional Rulers) respectively. In addition, the Buganda Kingdom has been making persistent demands for the return of its public land, the so called ‘9000 square miles’, the 1500 square miles of forests, and the 160 square miles of official estates which was confiscated by the Central Government in 1967.  
    167. In the opinion of the Attorney General of the Government of Uganda: “former crown land or public land, land which is not owned by any person or authority is vested in the district land boards.  A part of the “9000 square miles” is owned by the people who are customarily living on it.  Part of it is also owned by people who procured certificates of title issued by the Uganda Land Commission or District Land Boards, that some leases have been converted into freeholds pursuant to the Land Act”.  The Buganda Kingdom dismisses these arguments as failing in principle to acknowledge its legitimate claims to these lands confiscated in 1967.   
    168. For the National Land Policy, the issues are the following:
    1. The return of properties of Traditional Rulers has been a long-standing matter, which has continued to strain the relationship between the Central Government and the Traditional Rulers or Kingdoms as it re-surfaces from time to time.
    2. Since the Government accepts that negotiations on the return of the non-scheduled properties are on-going, it is imperative that these negotiations are expedited to conclude this legal process.
    3. The relationship between Traditional Rulers as “owners” or “holders” of these properties and the actual persons settled on this land is not clearly defined by legislation.
    4. It would appear that the land/properties were restored to the Traditional Rulers as trustees and not owners in so far they were returned to the institution of the Traditional Ruler.

Policy Statements

    169. (a) Government, upon proof of claims, shall restore properties of
      Traditional Rulers confiscated in 1967 conclusively, in agreement with the traditional rulers as provided for under the Traditional Rulers (Restoration of Assets and Properties) Act cap 247. 
    1. Land and properties restored to Traditional Rulers, on behalf of their subjects, shall be used and managed for the common good of the subjects of the traditional authority as public trust properties.


    170. For all properties returned to Traditional Rulers, measures will be taken to:
    1. ensure a clear distinction is drawn between Traditional Rulers’ personal land and that belonging to the Institution which is held in trust for their subjects;
    2. ensure the observance of a fiduciary relationship as trustees in respect of properties returned to Traditional Rulers for the common good of their subjects;
    3. ensure that occupiers of restored lands are protected from illegal evictions; and
    4. prepare an inventory showing the location of such land restored and the nature of any beneficial interest held by persons in occupation thereby.


    171. For all properties yet to be returned to Traditional Rulers, legislative and administrative measures will be taken to:
    1. negotiate conclusively with all Traditional Rulers for the return of assets and properties confiscated in 1967; and
    2. In case of Buganda, where claims have been put to the fore, expedite the negotiation process for the return of 160 square miles of official estates, 1500 square miles of forests and “9,000 square miles” to the Kingdom of Buganda.



    172. Several attempts have been made to resolve the Kibaale question, beginning with the 1964 Referendum. The most recent efforts were made during the discussions, leading to the 1995 Constitution and the discussions of the Land Bill 1998. All were unsuccessful. Since the passing of the Land Act 1998, the Government, using the Land Fund, has bought off some absentee landlords. However, due to budgetary constraints, the bigger part of the mailo land of absentee landlords is yet to be purchased by the Government (although a register of absentee landlords exists).  Distribution and sharing of the purchased land is yet to be satisfactorily resolved, as terms and conditions are not stipulated.  In recent years, the Banyoro have waited for promises of return of their land to be fulfilled, as they witnessed immigrants progressively settle on it permanently.
    173.  In considering the Kibaale question, the national land policy is cognizant of the following facts and issues:
    1. That the Banyoro lost their land, politically in terms of territorial and administrative affiliation to Buganda and by virtue of loss of ownership rights over land as a resource, to absentee landlords; thus, they became squatters on their ancestral land through operationalization of the 1900 Buganda Agreement.
    2. Even though the 1964 Referendum, on the “Lost Counties” of Buyaga and Bugangaizi, returned the territorial affiliation and administrative responsibility to Bunyoro, the loss of ownership rights over land, as a resource, was not addressed nor fixed by the referendum; thus, a need to correct this historical injustice.
    3. Between 1950 and 1973, the Government, in negotiation with the Omukama of Bunyoro, set up resettlement schemes in Ruteete (in Buyaga County). In 1992, in negotiation with local authorities, an additional resettlement scheme was set up in Bugangaizi County. The set up of these schemes was not guided by a clear resettlement policy, nor where the subsequent voluntary immigrations (by virtue of networks between those already re-settled and their areas of origin), guided by any form of policy.
    4. As the numbers swelled, by virtue of incessant immigration and settlement by other ethnicities referred to as “bafuruki”, tensions have risen with regard to land bought from the Baganda absentee mailo owners or from fellow “bafuruki” and indigenous land owners. Some immigrants have settled illegally and irregularly on public land and protected areas, mainly in the forest reserves, which has prompted the National Forestry Authority to embark on evictions.

Policy Statement

    174. Government shall take measures to correct historical land injustices in a manner that promotes harmony for peaceful co-existence of indigenous persons and immigrants in Kibaale District. 


175. Government shall take measures to:

    1. commit sufficient resources to the Land Fund (established under the Land Act) to purchase mailo interests of all absentee owners at market prices;
    2. carry out a detailed land audit of all land occupied by immigrants to determine the mode of access;
    3. develop criteria for land adjudication and re-distribution of the purchased land as stipulated by the Land Act and ensure equity in the  re-distribution;
    4. guarantee and protect the land rights of all immigrants who accessed land legally since the Constitution guarantees every citizen to settle anywhere in the country;
    5. evict all people illegally and / or irregularly settled in gazetted protected areas in accordance with the relevant laws;
    6. Formulate a resettlement policy to guide voluntary immigration and government-led re-settlement initiatives in Uganda.


    176. Land markets are to do with the transfer of rights and interests in land through sale, assignments, rental, hire, pledge, and similar forms of exchange.  Apart from direct allocation and transmissions, the land market is the primary avenue through which access to land is obtained.  Whatever market exists, it is important that it functions efficiently and equitably and in support of the socio-economic and cultural needs of the users.  
    177. Key market concerns for the national land policy are: first and foremost, it is the duty of the Government to regulate the operations in the land market under all tenure regimes.  Secondly, is to underscore the need for infrastructure to support efficient and equitable land market operations. It is recognized that land markets by nature, are subject to imperfections and distortions caused by lack of effective regulation, poor land use planning, and under-capitalization. The operations of a land market hinge on an efficient land registry system that guarantees titles, provides accurate information, and is open to public scrutiny. Thirdly, land markets can lead to loss of rights for vulnerable groups through  distress sales, the consequences of  which is landlessness, as land flows into the hands of the rich.   
    Policy Statement
    178. The Government shall promote efficient, effective and equitable land markets in all land tenure regimes. 


179. Measures will be strategically taken to create an enabling environment to:

    1. facilitate the exchange and transmission of land rights and interests without compromising tenure security for individuals and communities;
    2. identify a statutory agency or department to facilitate and regulate the land market in Uganda
    3. design and implement measures to mitigate against the negative impacts of land markets through fiscal, planning and other appropriate measures;
    4. establish a well-functioning land information system and provide good quality land-related information and infrastructure to access this information;
    5. introduce and create a computerized land registration and cadastral system, that is periodically updated to guarantee transactional accuracy and reduce costs of registration and disputes;
    6. promote public/private partnerships to provide sufficient capacity and finance to while retaining ultimate control by the state;
    7. promote and institutionalize the land rental market to ensure equity and access to land;
    8. regulate the operations of non-state actors in the land market, in particular real estate agents and other professionals.



    180. Government and its agencies need to create an environment that attracts private investment, both foreign and domestic, for the transformation of the economy. Uganda is one of the worst-rated countries in the world (rated at position 167 out of 181 countries) with regard to ease of access to land by investors and property registration. Investors need assured rights to land property in which they invest.  
    181. For the national land policy, the issues of concern relate to the following:
    1. Growth in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) can lead to alienation of land from peasant’s rights holders; thus, displacing peasants resulting into tenure insecurity, food insecurity, poverty and land conflicts. This has already happened in some isolated cases and concentration of land is in private hands.
    2. Government needs to put in place mechanisms to deliver the right balance between improving livelihoods, protecting vulnerable groups, and raising opportunities for investments and development.
    3. Government has to make progressive improvement in the quality and completeness of cadastral and land information databases and systems to facilitate the land market. 


    182. In addition, government or public land available to issue for carefully-selected private investment deemed of importance for socio-economic growth is limited. Hence:
    1. One of the considerations, previously put forward by Government is the power of compulsory acquisition to deliver land to investors; this has been roundly rejected by the Citizens of Uganda.
    2. In some instances, Government has opted for public land or government land on which public utilities are located, by allocating such land to private investors and displacing these public utilities in the process; such allocations and displacements have not been based on any transparent criteria.
    3. There is need to determine sectors which should be open to foreign direct investments (FDI) and the amount of land to be allocated for such investments based on the use to which the land is to be put.
    4. Lastly, there is need to follow the due process as well as carry out due diligence on investors.


    Policy Statements
    183. (a) Government will create an enabling environment to attract investment (both
          domestic and foreign) in key sectors in the economy:
      1. In accordance with established laws and procedures without exceptions;
      2. On the basis of appropriate evaluation, due process including due diligence.


    1. Government shall put in place measures to mitigate the negative impacts of investment so as to deliver equitable and sustainable development.


    184. Government will put in place measures to:
    1. formulate a strategy to guide the state and its agencies in the provision of land for investment, including measures to:
      1. regulate the amount of land investors can access in consideration of the use that the land will be put to,
      1. follow due process (evaluation, due diligence and approval of land use change),
      2. determine sectors open to foreign direct investment,
      3. carry out cost-benefit analysis on public utilities before displacing them to allocate land to private investors,
      4. assemble land and allocate it through a land bank;
    1. provide reliable and easily accessible land-based information to guide potential investors;
    1. remove bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption in the land institutions to facilitate delivery of land for investment;
    2. promote long-term benefit-sharing arrangements rather than one-off compensation for loss of land right in respect of investment by supporting  alternative operational business/production models between the locals and investors (such as contract farming schemes for small holder farmers, out growers schemes, equity-sharing schemes, use of leaseholds and joint-ventures).


    185. Protect the land rights, including rights of citizens in the face of investments, with measures for, but not limited to;
    1. clear procedures and standards for local consultation;
    2. mechanisms for appeal and arbitration;
    3. access to land by vulnerable groups, smaller-scale land owners and land users in the face of large scale farming interests;
    4. protect and avoid degradation of natural resources and sensitive eco-systems.



    186. The vast majority of Ugandans may not be able to afford the cost of formally securing land rights under any of the tenure regimes recognized by law.  Land rights delivery mechanisms and agents alone, cannot be entrusted to guarantee tenure security to land users, especially the vulnerable.  It is, therefore, necessary to put in place a framework that would ensure that land rights held by all Ugandans are fully and effectively enjoyed. 
    187. In addition, it is necessary for this national land policy to set minimum land sizes to avoid excessive sub- division of land, in rural and urban areas, for orderly development.  
    188. The Land Act Cap 227 allows for non-citizens to acquire interest in land not greater than leasehold for a maximum of 99 years. This principle needs to be re-affirmed in this policy for effective implementation, as it is routinely disregarded in registry and market transactions. 

Policy Statements

    189. (a) Government shall develop and implement measures for effective assurance of
          enjoyment of all land rights by all citizens. 
    1. Government shall set minimum land sizes for rural and urban land to promote orderly Development.


    1. Non-Citizens shall not be granted interest greater than leasehold for 99 years in respect of land in Uganda.


190. To support land rights, measures will be put in place to;

    1. ensure land rights and land administration are integrated in the national school curriculum;
    2. regulate the cost of land services delivery  to a minimum with regard to demarcation and registration (to make it affordable);
    3. ensure land delivery services are further decentralized to the local authority level;
    4. ensure community management structures relating to land under customary tenure are strengthened;
    5. ensure civil society participation in the protection of land rights and tenure security of communities and vulnerable groups
    6. regulate land ownership by non-citizens by converting all rights and interests in land (registered or otherwise) granted to non-citizen to leaseholds of not more than 99 years; and
    7. regulate land sizes, in rural and urban areas, by setting minimum sizes as a measure for controlling sub-divisions.




Background Statement

    191. Land rights administration comprises the structures and processes through which rights in land are created, defined, and recorded or certified; the integrity of land transactions is assured and guaranteed, land rights disputes are processed, land revenue is generated, and land information is inventoried, provided or otherwise archived. It is, thus, the primary public vehicle through which land needs of the public and individuals are processed, satisfied and secured. 
    Problem Statement
    192. This framework is typically beset by a number of malfunctions, prominent among which is a high degree of out-datedness, technical complexity, unclear managerial hierarchy and operational inefficiency. It is bedeviled by corruption, inadequately resourced and performing poorly in service delivery. This state of land administration has tended to impede the development of the land sector and those productive sectors with which it has intimate linkages. 



    193. Land rights administration operations have contributed to severe land rights insecurity especially as a result of lack of proper record keeping, persistent inaccuracies in land registry information, corruption and fraud and general mistrust of the land rights administration system. Land rights administration needs to be treated as a professional function, removed from the realm of politics and insulated from political pressures, often bent on appropriation of land resources.  
    194. Land rights administration operates within two parallel systems comprising of: the informal customary / traditional systems governed by customs and norms of given communities and the centralized statutory (or state) system governed by written law. The two are not in harmony, as exemplified by:
    1. institutional and systemic conflict between statutory systems and traditional / customary systems exist;
    2. inconsistencies in the customary / traditional system with regard to standards, rules and procedures are common;
    3. parallel practice, leading to confusion and conflict because the distinct roles of the various institutions under customary / traditional and statutory institutions are not spelt out.


    195. Malfunctions endemic in land rights administration will not be permanently addressed unless the system as presently established is dismantled and re-engineered.  This exercise must recognize the empirical realities associated with operating parallel systems of land rights administration; comprising customary operate as part and parcel of the social and political organization of territorial groups, and statutory (or state) systems governed by statutory law. 

Policy Statements

    196. (a) Government shall wholly and fundamentally restructure the lands rights
      administration system to enhance efficiency, ease of access, and cost-effectiveness. 
    1. Land rights administration will recognize and harmonize the traditional customary system with the formal statutory system.



197. The measures will be put in place to:

    1. further decentralize land rights administration functions to traditional customary land governance levels;
    2. consolidate and rationalize decentralized land rights administration structures set up by the Land Act Cap 227 as amended, in terms of cost, simplicity, efficiency, accessibility and affordability;
    3. re-design the hierarchy of the land rights administration institutions in such a way as to enable traditional customary institutions to operate as the tiers of first instance in respect of land held under customary tenure;
    4. develop mechanisms for full and effective participation by land users, and especially women, in all land rights administration functions;
    5. maintain clear separation between the land rights administration system and public or political administration, so that land can be managed as property and not as a political service;
    6. Recognize and grant legality to operations of customary land administration institutions under the Registration of Titles Act.



    198. Land rights delivery serves the dual system of receipt and processing of land rights and interests under all tenure regimes. Land rights delivery under customary tenure is based largely on memory and folklore, which though not less authoritative lacks an institutional framework. The statutory system is still manually organized and yet to benefit from automation and computerization.  
    199. Neither of the systems (statutory and traditional) serve the land sector well, making registration of interests slow, expensive, and corruption-prone, often leading to forged titles. The systems, therefore, require urgent modernization and simplification. There is growing concern that the concentration of land rights administration services in government institutions and agencies is the primary cause of inefficiency and wastage. It is now generally agreed that some of these functions should either be privatized or divested.  

Policy Statements

    200. (a) Government will re-structure modernize and simplify the land rights
          delivery systems.  
    1. Government shall enhance efficiency and cost-effectiveness in land administration through appropriately-structured, semi-autonomous institution and non-state actors.


201.  Thus, measures will be put in place to:

    1. establish and operationalize the regular maintenance of community land registries for the recording and certification of land rights under customary law;
    2. introduce modern technology in land rights management, including computerization of all land registries commencing with those established in urban areas;
    3. simplify all land registry practices through the use of model transaction documents;
    4. design a system for the systematic tracking of changes in proprietorship through transmissions, sub-divisions, mutations and boundary adjustments, to prevent distortions in land registry information;
    5. through an Act of Parliament, regularize the fees and charges in the land registry, for verification and transaction costs, including charges by local council for effective control by local governments;
    6. address corruption in the land registry to ensure an efficient service.

202.  Reform measures will include:                          

    1. creation of a semi-autonomous state agency to manage and appropriately sequence the services of:
      1. physical planning, land development, land registration, land surveys, valuation, mapping,
      1. allocation of rights and interests in government/public land, and
      2. land information services;
    1. privatization of a limited number of land rights administration services under guidelines established by the semi-autonomous agency;
    1. retention, at the centre, of the power of standards setting and supervision in respect of the performance of all land delivery services;
    2. continuous monitoring and evaluation of  performance of the land agency by private sector institutions;
    3. retention of dispute processing functions in communities and decentralized state institutions established under the Land Act.




    203. In Uganda, performance of land rights demarcation, survey, and mapping functions has been impeded by a variety of factors, chief amongst which are shortage of qualified personnel in some areas, administrative bottlenecks in the preparation and approval of deed plans, and prohibitive survey costs. Efforts by academic institutions to increase the number of qualified professionals in survey are underway at the Entebbe School of Survey and Land Management, and Makerere University.  
    204. In addition to shortage of qualified personnel,
    1. infrastructure to effectively support surveying functions within government, and amongst private, services providers are limited due to the absence of equipment;
    2. inadequate decentralization has constrained deployment and regulation of the profession through the Surveyors Registration Board, which is itself currently non-effective given the proliferation of the profession by un-qualified practitioners;
    3. as regards the accessibility and affordability, there is an outcry on the exorbitant cost of privatized survey services;
    4. the destruction of survey points and coordinates has often fuelled land conflicts and disputes;
    5. With regard to customary tenure, it is necessary to recognize traditional boundary-marking systems and to sensitize communities on surveying and its role in adjudication, as well as on systematic demarcation.


    Policy Statement
    205. Capacity for land rights adjudication, demarcation, survey, and mapping services will be enhanced and technologically updated into a modern system. 
    206. Measures will be taken to:                                                                         
    1. provide facilities for the training of land rights adjudication, demarcation, survey, and mapping personnel by public or private sector agencies;
    2. privatize cadastral surveys, engineering and typographical surveying subject to strict standard-setting and public regulation;
    3. retain as the basic framework for surveys and mapping geodetic surveys, hydrographic surveys and base mapping as a public functions;
    4. recognize and confer official status to community- based boundary-marking systems for land held under customary tenure;
    5. set and enforce clearly achievable standards for the preparation of maps and registry plans by public and private agencies;
    6. creatively over-haul standards, systems and laws on demarcation, surveys and mapping;
    7. regulate the cost of surveys and mapping to facilitate registration of land under customary tenure;
    8. amend the Surveyors Registration Act  and re-focus the Surveyors Registration Board to effectively regulate the profession of land surveying and registration;
    9. amend existing laws to allow for the use of modern technology such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and remote sensing data; and
    10. Sensitize the community on the functions of surveys and mapping.



    207. An important function of the land rights administration systems is to ensure that accurate land information is available on land sizes, location and proprietary characteristics, substantive and anticipated values, and land use quality. It is also important that information should be available on utilities, infrastructure, topographic details, geodetic controls, socio-economic and demographic parameters and environmental media. This is important for land use planning and the design of a fiscal cadastre.  
    208. Currently, land information is mostly held in paper form, manually managed, and not optimally utilized. Absence of technological infrastructure (including equipment) to guarantee access to accurate land information is one of the problems haunting land information management in Uganda. Additionally, such information system needs to be operated with due regard to social, cultural, and intellectual property considerations.  
    Policy Statement
    209. The Government shall establish and maintain a reliable, technology – driven, and user-friendly Land Information Systems (LIS) as a public good for national development. 


210. Measures will be taken to:

    1. develop data standards for geo-information comprising feature definitions, data content, spatial referencing, and accuracy;
    2. prepare and implement national guidelines, to improve the quality and quantity of land information;
    3. amend all relevant laws to enable application of modern technology;
    4. procure technological infrastructure needed for the establishment of a decentralized system;
    5. rehabilitate, re-organize, upgrade, authenticate, and digitize existing land records in readiness for the establishment of a computerized land information system;
    6. computerize existing land records to support the Land information System; and 
    7. decentralize and present the proposed land information system in a language understood by community-level land managers and users.



    211.  The Land Act, established an elaborate structure of land tribunals, whose operations have since been suspended by the Judiciary, citing limited resources and duplication with Magistrates Courts. There is also need to ensure access to timely, efficient and affordable dispute resolution mechanisms for efficient land markets, tenure security and investment stability in the land sector. 
    212. There is need, to restructure the land dispute management system in a manner that recognizes the inherent differences between disputes over land held under customary tenure and those held under other tenure regimes, since no specific recognition is given to indigenous mechanisms for dispute processing or customary law as a normative framework for the processing of disputes under customary tenure. Overlaps in dispute resolution institutions have resulted into fora shopping by aggrieved parties, without a clear hierarchy. 
    Policy Statements
    213. (a) Land Tribunals will be reinstated, properly resourced and facilitated
          to enable them carry out their constitutional mandate. 
    1. Land disputes resolution mechanisms will be overhauled to facilitate speedy and affordable resolution of land disputes.


    214. Legislative and other measures will therefore be taken to:
    1. ensure the operations of land tribunals are devoid of  complex jurisdiction and litigation procedures usually associated with ordinary courts of law;
    2. provide clear choice rules for application of law by land tribunals to permit the  simultaneous application of state and customary law depending on the circumstances, facts and characteristics of the dispute in question;
    3. accord precedence to indigenous dispute management institutions in respect  of disputes over land held under customary land tenure;
    4. ensure customary/traditional institutions keep proper written records of all cases of dispute decided under their jurisdiction;
    5. define a clear hierarchy in dispute resolution structures;
    6. guarantee the finality and authoritativeness of decisions of all dispute processing mechanisms,  subject only to appeal to higher levels of jurisdiction;
    7. establish a special division in the High Court and Magistrates Court to handle land disputes to ensure the development of consistent property jurisprudence for Uganda;
    8. provide free legal aid to the vulnerable sections of society through a system of partnerships and incentives to private and civil society organizations to deal with the ever increasing land litigation; 
    9. encourage and build capacity for alternative dispute resolution on land matters



    215. Decentralization of the land rights administration system under the Land Act Cap 227 and Local Governments Act Cap 300 (Amended 2003) has created opportunities for revenue generation and fiscal management through land taxes, land rates, stamp duty, rental income, and through delivery of land services. It is important that the full potential to generate revenue from the land rights administration system is actualized and enhanced.  
    Policy Statement
    216. The Government shall develop the capacity of land sector institutions for effective revenue generation and fiscal management. 


217. Measures will be taken to:                                                     

    1. review land taxation laws and create other avenues for revenue generation in the land sector;
    2. monitor performance of institutions charged with the collection of revenue generated from land sector operations to avoid pilferage and wastage;
    3. enhance the capacity of local and community governance institutions to raise and utilize revenue from land sector operations, and
    4. control levies on land transactions in urban and rural areas through guidelines administered by local governments;
    5. streamline fiscal transfers between national, local and community land rights delivery institutions so as to ensure equity in the sharing and use of land services revenue;



Background Statement

    218. An important strategic objective of the land sector is that land resources must be put to optimal, productive and sustainable management.  Being cognizant of the recently approved National Land Use Policy, which is part and parcel of the national land policy, this framework broadly, tackles land use and land management from three fronts: Land Management, Land Utilization, and Institutional Framework for Land.  

Problem Statement

    219. Uganda is faced with problems and / or challenges of inadequate land use planning and enforcement of land use regulations, unsustainable land use, rapid urbanization, poor environmental management, inadequate natural resources/ecosystem conservation and management. In addition, land use and land management, lies in many and different bureaucracies managing isolated portions and aspects, which are often uncoordinated and in competition with one another for recognition and resources. Thus, there are critical overlaps in institutional responsibilities and insufficient collaboration among public sector institutions and agencies. The reality is an institutional framework that does not promote sustainable land development as it is an obstacle to rational, effective and efficient management of land resources.  
    Policy Statement
    220. A framework for the proper management of land resources shall be designed. 


    221. Measures will be put in place to:
    1. develop and enforce adequate land use standards for development of the land sector as a whole;
    2. provide capacity, through training, to enable land management agents to function efficiently;
    3. deploy professional land auditors at local and community government levels to monitor and enforce the implementation of land use standards;
    4. set up and operationalize an effective forum for inter-sectoral consultation and co-ordination of land sector activities;
    5. reform and design, new institutions, for effective and efficient land use and land management; and
    6. review policies related to all land-using sub-sectors to ensure complementarity with the national land policy.



    222. Physical planning is an important tool in the management of land under any tenure. Indeed, it is the first step in land use management as it enables the State, local governments, communities and individuals to determine, in advance, the direction and rate of progression of land sector activities by region and area.  
    223. Primary instruments for physical planning in Uganda have failed to provide adequate guidelines for planning at the national or regional levels and implementation plans in rural areas.  Besides, local planning authorities, i.e. local councils, do not always have the resources and technical capacity to plan and / or implement approved plans. A serious gap exists between land use plan preparation, implementation and enforcement of land use regulations. In addition, there is lack of a framework to handle land use conflicts. 
    Policy Statement
    224. Government shall review and strengthen the framework for land use planning and regulation.  

225. Through legislation and other regulatory measures, Government will:

    1. declare the entire country a Physical Planning Area for purposes for land use development;
    2. enforce compliance with land use regulations in urban and peri-urban areas; 
    3. integrate physical infrastructure policy (i.e. roads, transportation, and service lines) into overall national and regional physical development planning schemes;
    4. provide guidelines on zoning, subdivision, housing design and standards, provision of socio-economic and physical infrastructure services;
    5. develop guidelines for land use plan implementation framework; and
    6. review all relevant legislation on land use planning and regulation to ensure that they are in tandem with the National Land Policy;
    7. enforce land use regulations.


    226. Other measures will be taken to:
    1. prepare a medium to long-term national land use framework for Uganda, setting out broad land use expectations and strategies for land use management and land development
    2. design a framework and provide capacity for land use audits in rural and urban areas to support national, regional and local land use planning;
    3. maintain an inventory of land availability and suitability for specific users, as part of the national land information system;
    4. monitor growth of rural settlements with a view to providing infrastructure and services;
    5. continuously monitor and evaluate the effects of public regulation on  land sector development;
    6. integrate all urban economic activities, including urban agriculture and forestry, into overall urban development planning;
    7. educate the public on the overall goals and advantages of public regulation of land use.



    227. Deterioration and degradation of land quality is one of the major problems in the land sector. This is due to poor land use and management practices, severe soil degradation, desertification due to climate change effects, serious wastage and pollution of land and water resources and lack of adequate support services infrastructure, especially for agriculture. There is an urgent need for land quality assurance measures and strategies to reverse this trend. 
    228. Uganda is dominated by inefficient technologies of production and inappropriate land use practices.  Besides, population growth and the demand for land have resulted in excessive fragmentation of land into uneconomic sub-units. It is important that clear guidelines for productivity management are available to ensure food security for all Ugandans, and surplus production for income generation and export earnings. 
    Policy Statement
    229. The Government shall institutionalize mechanisms to restore, maintain and monitor the quality and productivity of land resources. 


230. Measures will be put in place to:

    1. enhance the proprietary value of land resources by restoring and maintaining the quality of land resources;
    2. enhance the quality of land and land-based resources through sound land use practices and appropriate conservation measures;
    3. initiate programmes for rehabilitation of degraded lands through design and implementation of prevention and management measures;
    4. develop and implement programmes for the delivery of community-based land management extension services
    5. promote individual and community participation in environmental action by providing socio-economic and other incentives to induce sustainable land use practices;
    6. introduce appropriate and affordable technologies of production, including the possibility of irrigation development in arid and semi-arid areas;
    7. develop guidelines:
      1. to control land fragmentation by setting minimum acreage to be subdivided,
      1. on industrial waste disposal,
      2. for control of soil degradation,
      3. to encourage settlement in urban areas.
      4. to regulate sub-division of land in urban and rural areas to ensure use optimality, of use, taking into account ecological and specific use factors;
      5. to facilitate the periodic consolidation and re-adjustment of land parcels to facilitate optimal use.



    231. Uganda faces a number of environmental problems, including the degradation of natural resources such as forests, wildlife habitats, wetlands, fragile eco-systems (hilltops and savannah woodlands), water catchment areas, river banks and water bodies as well as soil degradation and pollution of land, air and water. Although policies and legislation exist to address these issues, these have turned out to be difficult to implement due to bureaucratic bottlenecks that impede efficient implementation and decision-making in the land sector. Furthermore, there happens to be increasing political interference with the implementation of environmental laws, particularly the NEMA Act (Cap. 153) and regulations there under, and the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act.   
    232. Therefore, a major development challenge in Uganda is how to ensure sustainable use of natural resources and restoration of degraded natural resources. These are often depleted or degraded through indiscriminate excisions, unregulated harvesting, and encroachment which results from politically-motivated investment promotions that hinder sustainable use. In addition users of land on which natural resources are situated, are not aware of the sustainable use practices, existing legal frameworks and mechanisms for restoration of degraded environments. It is crucial that immediate steps be taken to restore the integrity of natural resources and environmental management. 
    Policy Statements
    233. (a) Government shall take measures to restore and maintain the integrity of
          natural resources.  
    1. Government shall enhance the effectiveness of the framework for environmental management by strengthening environmental planning, regulation, enforcement and monitoring.


234. Measures will be taken to;

    1. design appropriate environmental standards for all production sectors;
    2. develop a legal framework to promote participation of communities and other stakeholders in the devolved management of natural resources;
    3. mobilize communities and assist them to develop and implement action strategies for effective enforcement of established environmental and natural resource management standards;
    4. develop programmes for the restoration of waste disposal sites, polluted watercourses, and control of land use-related green house gas emissions;
    5. develop a framework for benefit-sharing between land resource management institutions and authorities, and contiguous local communities;
    6. provide special protection for fragile ecosystem, including unique and sensitive biodiversity colonies, like hill tops, wetlands, water catchment areas, lake-shores and river banks;
    7. develop a scheme of incentives that promotes participation of communities and other stakeholders in the management of natural resources;
    8. Strengthen enforcement mechanisms for natural resource regulations and carry out public education on sustainable use and management of natural resource and the environment;
    9. Provide incentives and rewards that encourage maintenance and protection of natural resources on privately-owned land.



    235. Uganda does have a human settlement policy. Human settlements development (both rural and urban) is inhibited by inadequate physical planning coupled with rapid and haphazard development. Urban settlements, in the wake of rapid urbanization, is associated with informal settlements, inadequate poor shelter, lack of infrastructure and basic services, urban sprawl, infringement on prime agricultural land environmentally-sensitive areas such as wetlands, hilltops, and lake shores.  
    236. For the National Land Policy, key concerns are as below:
    1. The need for planned rural settlements, that enable cost-effective location and provision of services;
    2. The need for regulation of estate development in human settlements, specifically in urban and peri-urban areas, where the services of real estate agents are abetting urban sprawl.
    3. Land tenure regimes that allow for multiple rights and interests over the same piece of land or bonafide interests that impede housing investments.
    4. Rapid population growth and urbanization, in the absence of an urbanization policy and human settlement policy


    Policy Statement
    237. Government shall formulate a National Human Settlement Policy and National Urbanization Policy to undertake comprehensive planning for orderly development.  


238. Measures will be taken to:

    1. develop a comprehensive National Human Settlement Policy
    2. ensure sustainable urbanization by developing a National Urbanization Policy
    3. facilitate periodic consolidation and re-adjustment of land parcels for optimal use;
    4. strengthen urban and rural land use planning processes to prevent land wastage or sub-optional uses;
    5. regulate sub-division of land in urban and rural areas;
    6. ensure that land for human settlement is properly planned and social services allocated evenly;
    7. ensure strict enforcement of land use regulations especially in urban and peri-urban areas;
    8. create incentives to attract people to live in urban or nucleated  settlements to free land for development
    9. put in place appropriate legal framework to facilitate and regulate urban agriculture; and
    10. deploy land use planning and fiscal instruments to ensure idle land is used and developed.



    239. In Uganda, agricultural production is mainly by small-holder production. Agricultural land in Uganda has not always been optimally and sustainably used. Poor agricultural practices are resulting into increased land degradation such as soil erosion and soil nutrition depletion, de-forestation, over-grazing and water contamination. Land productivity potential, land capability, and land sustainability for agriculture is not well known. This makes it nearly impossible to allocate land to its most optimal uses. 
    240. The need for demarcation of agricultural zones of production excellence, based on production potential and existing comparative advantages, is self-evident. Over-population in some areas has resulted into land fragmentation, and over use, affecting land quality, agricultural production and economic development. Land tenure security as it relates to access and ownership remains a major menace among women farmers. Finally, Uganda does not have an agriculture policy. 
    Policy Statement
    241. Government shall regulate the use of land for agricultural production in tandem with a National Agriculture Policy. 

242. Measures will be taken to:

    1. develop a comprehensive National Agriculture Policy;
    2. promote and ensure viable zonal agricultural production to enhance production, productivity and agro-processing;
    3. make available an updated soil resource inventory at an appropriate scale
    4. promote farming practices that reduce land degradation and enhance soil productivity;
    5. encourage voluntary consolidation of agricultural land holdings to sizes suitable for optimum, productive and sustainable use;
    6. discourage socio-cultural, economic and other practices that degrade the quality of rangelands;
    7. discourage land fragmentation through education, incentives, laws and bye-laws;
    8. promote sustainable use and management of water, soil and land resources which is a critical factor for enhancement of agricultural production and productivity;
    9. ensure secure access to land for agricultural production.



    243. Uganda is pursuing various policies, which allow changes in land use of protected areas, especially forests, wetlands and wildlife reserves. Management of protected areas is largely in the hands of Government, which at the same time has had several policies that have resulted in land use changes of these areas. The core problem in the conservation and management of these ecosystems is the unsustainable exploitation arising from conflicting land uses and inadequate enforcement of natural resource management regulations. There is need to harmonize policies, laws and regulations dealing with land based natural resources. Criteria for setting aside areas for conservation in the country are not well-established or known. There are no mechanisms for resolving human/wildlife conflicts. Policy and legal mechanisms for wildlife conservation outside protected areas has continued to receive little attention. 
    Policy Statement
    244. Government shall ensure that all land uses practices conform to land use plans and the principles of sound environmental management, including biodiversity, soil and water protection, conservation, and sustainable land management.  


245. Measures will be taken to: 

    1. develop a harmonized criteria for gazetting and de-gazetting of conservation areas, considering the following:
      1. reason for which an area was gazetted no longer exists,
      2. de-gazette to address historical or colonial imbalances,
      3. de-gazette for the common good, or as agreed upon by Parliament as a trustee of  the Citizens;
      4. a technical evaluation recommends change of land use;
    2. establish and implement an effective mechanism for the management of wildlife outside protected areas;
    3. create incentives for community participation in conservation on privately-owned land and participation in co-management of conservation on public land;
    4. recover, demarcate and provide guidelines to regulate use of hilltops and sensitive eco-systems;
    5. develop mechanisms to resolve human-wildlife conflict.



    246. Uganda is a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) and the Kyoto Protocol (1997) both of which require collective domestic, regional and international action to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions to levels which would allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change. A new challenge for Uganda is adaptation to the impact of climate change, as one of the most- affected countries.  

Policy Statement

    247. Government will develop a framework for compliance with all international commitments on management of climate change parameters. 


248. Measures in pursuit of that goal will include: 

    1. regulate anthropogenic activities which generate greenhouse gas emissions such as the burning of fossil fuels, forest fires, and destructive agricultural practices;
    2. enhance participation in initiatives for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions worldwide;
    3. mitigate while not compromising the need to growth and develop the destruction of forests, water bodies, and other phenomena which act as sinks for green house gasses;
    4. encouragement and facilitation of the operations of civil society networks concerned with ecosystem protection and preservation;
    5. promotion of efficient use of new and renewable resources and, in particular, the exploitation and regeneration of indigenous sources of energy; and
    6. capacity building for rapid response to and management of extreme events arising from variability in climate parameters;
    7. Provide for re-settlement of environmental refugees and
    8. Initiate co-operation responses with neighboring countries on issues to do with Kyoto Protocol and related issues, including adaptation to climate change.



    249. Sustainable management and use of land-based natural resources cannot be achieved without comprehensive reform of the institutional and administrative framework, currently in force. Management of land-based natural resources lies within many and different bureaucracies, uncoordinated and often in competition with one another for recognition and resources for implementation. Thus, a multiplicity of institutions, with varying responsibilities on land management, overlapping in mandates without clear policy principles and guidelines, is self-manifest. This is because the framework has grown in response to various political and economic concerns.  For this reason, it is and remains internally-fragmentary, conflictual and highly centralized. The institutional framework for land management is, therefore, in dire need of reform. 
    Policy Statement
    250. Government shall establish a harmonized and integrated institutional framework for efficient use, appropriate stewardship and effective management of land based natural resources. 


251. Measures will be taken to:

    1. Refine and clarify the mandates of the different agencies charged with management of land-based resources to remove overlaps, gaps and conflicts;
    2. develop and enforce adequate land use standards for the management and development of land based resources;
    3. review policies related to all land-related sectors (and sub-sectors) to ensure complementarity as well as compliance with the national land policy;
    4. deploy professional land auditors at local and community government levels, to monitor and enforce the implementation of land use standards;
    5. install and operationalize an effective forum for inter-sectoral consultation and co-ordination of land use activities;
    6. create land management structures that are efficient, cost-effective and democratically-operated in a decentralization policy framework;
    7. design and enforce precautionary but achievable performance standards for land management;
    8. develop capacity and an enabling infrastructure for evolution and implementation of sustainable land use practices and land management.





    Background Statement
    252. Uganda is a party to a large body of international and regional conventions, treaties and declarations dealing, with human rights issues, environmental and land governance and shared aquatic, terrestrial and other trans-boundary resources. These instruments establish the international framework for environmental and land governance and, in particular, provide principles which countries party to them should implement.   
    255. Among issues identified in the instruments is the need to:
    1. reduce extreme poverty and hunger;
    2. manage global climate change through domestic economic policies and strategies;
    3. guarantee national food security;
    4. conserve biodiversity and the environment;
    5. resolve resource conflicts arising from trans-boundary movements of population and animal species;
    6. ensure gender equality and equity;
    7. protect the human right to adequate housing and other related human rights;
    8. prevent forced evictions; and
    9. guarantee security of tenure.

      Land is, clearly, at the centre of all these issues. 

Problem Statement

    256. As Uganda develops closer political linkages with Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi, many cherished domestic law principles will require re-visiting. One of these is the fact that access to land is still linked not merely to territorial sovereignty, but specifically to citizenship. In pursuit of the goal of a common market, there will be need to harmonize laws, policies, regulations, and practices on land. 



    257. Compliance with or implementation of regional and international obligations, within the framework of domestic policy and law, requires that consideration be given to a number of principles, which are part of international law.  These are that:
    1. the instruments creating such obligations must have been freely acceded to, are not oppressive or otherwise burdensome, and will confer benefits in excess of the costs of compliance;
    2. compliance is an act of comity, good neighborliness, mutuality and reciprocity;
    3. compliance will enhance the growth and development of the national economy, expand economic opportunities for Uganda’s citizens and is, therefore, a prudent investment; and
    4. compliance will proceed at a pace which the social, economic and political processes can be absorbed by the country and is not disruptive to long- term development policies and plans; hence, will not introduce radical changes in domestic institutions and structures.

Policy Statement

    258.  Government will comply with areas of policy convergence in land policy and strive to re-align on divergent areas in land policy. 


259Measures will be put in place to:

    1. Define areas of convergence in land policy for compliance, accepted for implementation, excluding obligations that are repugnant to Uganda’s legislation;
    2. Acknowledge the areas of divergence in land policy, for account and possible legislative re-alignment;
    3. To the extent possible, domesticate international conventions for standards and values in land policy;
    4. Monitor the level of implementation of all conventions to which Uganda is signatory.



    260. Regional and international co-operation on land issues requires that Uganda should anticipate the likelihood of convergence with its neighbours in important land sector issues. These include policy and legislative development, governance of trans-boundary and shared resources, management of population movements, and climate change abatement activities. A comprehensive inventory of areas of convergence will be necessary to establish a baseline for regional co-operation. 
    268. Although the statutory legal systems of East African countries derive from a common heritage, significant variations exist in discrete areas.  The most obvious of these relate to access to land by non-citizens, the extent of regulation of the land sector, and the extent of devolution of land rights administration and management functions.  The possibility of regional complementarity on land legislation will need to be explored. 

Policy Statement

    269. Government will explore the possibility of regional convergence on relevant land legislation and policy within East Africa and the Africa Union. 


270. In order to generate such an inventory, Uganda will need to;

    1. draw on the enormous literature that has been built up through research on the shared resources of the region;
    2. draw on efforts by the African Union to formulate common land policy guidelines for its members countries;
    3. initiate debate on the design and content of land policy guidelines for the East African region; and
    4. promote negotiations for the re-establishment of institutions for the management of common services and resources for the East African region.

271. Preliminary steps will entail:                                                  

    1. progressive achievement of compliance on areas of legislative divergence relevant to Uganda’s situation;
    2. removal of all legislative barriers inhibiting access to land by citizens of the Partner States of the East African Community;
    3. the standardization of regulatory mechanisms in the land sector, account being taken of the environmental implications of such regulation;
    4. support for regional and continental initiatives for the harmonization of land law.



    272. Uganda shares many aquatic, terrestrial and other trans-boundary resources, and eco-systems with neighboring countries, including grazing lands, water catchment areas, lake basins, and river basins.  In addition, several districts in Uganda share some eco-systems of social and economic importance without structured systems for harmonious utilization and overall management. Although treaties, conventions and customary practices exist in relation to the management of these resources, some of these are of doubtful efficacy. A new framework for the management of trans-boundary resources is, therefore, necessary. 

Policy Statement

    273. Government shall develop a framework for participation in development of policies and protocols for management of trans-boundary and shared natural resources in consultation with Partner States. 


274. It will be necessary to:-

    1. design and implement a system for the  monitoring of the effects of trans-boundary movement of migratory species on the environment;
    2. negotiate and implement protocols for the protection of migratory species;
    3. undertake voluntary abatement measures in respect of anthropogenic activities which would upset the ecology of Lake Victoria and the Nile Basin; and
    4. negotiate mechanisms for coordination and benefit-sharing of the resources of Lake Victoria and Nile Basin.



    275. Cross-border population movements are frequent as a result of conflict, ecological or environmental stress, or interactive accommodation among cross-border communities sharing common heritage and culture. A significant proportion of these populations sometimes end up being classified as either refugees or internally- displaced persons.  Settlement or resettlement of such populations often leads to severe strains on resources and/or serious environmental damage. A framework for the management of these movements will need to be developed. 

Policy Statement

    276. Government will develop a framework to regulate, manage and minimize the negative consequences and maximize the positive impacts of cross-border population movements. 


277. Steps in that direction will involve;

    1. respect for regional and international conventions governing the settlement and treatment of refugees and internally displaced persons;
    2. negotiation of protocols for the reciprocal treatment and settlement of mass  cross-border movements; and
    3. implementation of measures, jointly with neighboring countries, for effective border management and supervision.



    278. Currently, territorial border conflicts, between the State of Uganda and its neighbours, do commonly occur.  These often manifest themselves   as land conflicts between communities in Uganda and its neighbours.  It is now an international requirement that neighboring countries clearly demarcate and sign border agreements to avert future disagreements on the true positions of their borders. African countries are expected to deposit up-to-date border agreements with the African Union by 2012, as part of a broader framework to ensure harmony, territorial integrity, and completeness. 
    279. No demarcation exercise has been undertaken to affirm the status of border points and markers, of Uganda territory, since the colonial period. Overtime, almost all international border markers and identifiers, including control pillars for the entire Ugandan territory, have been vandalized. It is now imperative for the State to re-establish and re-demarcate its border to ensure protection of nationals and completeness of Uganda as a sovereign State, with its people and the neighbours living in peace and harmony. 

Policy Statement

    280. Government shall instantaneously re-establish and re-demarcate the entire national borders of the State of Uganda, in agreement with neighboring States.


281. Measures will be urgently taken to:

    1. carry out joint international border demarcation surveys with all neighboring countries;
    2. ensure signed border verification agreements are deposited with the Africa Union by 2012;
    3. regularly inspect and maintain border demarcation points, including pillars and other identification marks;
    4. sensitize border communities on the importance of international border demarcations;
    5. amend the Survey Act to incorporate penalties for those involved in vandalism of all survey marks, pillars and other identification marks.




Background Statement

    282. It is important to emphasize that once formulated and approved as the framework for land sector development, the National Land Policy must be implemented. The process of implementation involves the conversion of the policy principles, statements and strategies into a comprehensive programme of land sector reform. Lessons to learn from experience elsewhere in Africa show that policy must be internalized and its values consolidated in reform programme. Otherwise, transition of land policy documents to guidelines or legislation often fails. The cost (both in political and economic terms) of inaction and delay in implementation is the greatest of all challenges. Institutional co-ordination, including monitoring, review and evaluation, are also an imperative.  

Problem Statement

    283. The first steps in this process will entail informing and educating stakeholders and the public on the process and content of the policy (issues and statements contained therein).  Recognizing, the challenges stated, a number of principles are hereby proposed:
    1. Land policy formulation is not simply a technical and bureaucratic exercise, but one which is essentially social, political and cultural, affecting deeply entrenched values and practices.
    2. Land policy implementation requires economic, social and political capital, consisting of the will and commitment to reform, professional with adequate infrastructure and services.
    3. Land policy formulation and implementation requires full and participatory involvement of stakeholders at all levels in the land sector.
    4. Land policy implementation must be supported and facilitated by competent and informed institutional arrangements, operating with targets and clear time-lines.



    284. An important step in the implementation of any policy is to cost it, i.e. assess its financial, institutional, personnel, and infrastructure requirements. This will determine the pace and sequencing of policy implementations.  Such costing must be seen not merely as expenditure, but more importantly as investment in a programme expected to re-vitalize the land sector for immeasurable economic and social benefits. 
    Policy Statement
    285. Government shall realistically cost and fund the land reform process in Uganda, pursuant to approval by Cabinet of this National Land Policy. 


286. The process of realistic costing will involve:-                            

    1. development of  cost estimates for all activities or programmes anticipated by the policy; prioritize and sequence these activities;
    2. make an inventory of existing resource capacity in the land sector to determine their usability and level of short-fall in the implementation of the policy;
    3. assessing the capacity of existing systems and structures in place, which should be able to kick-start land policy implementation, as new structures are being set up;
    4. auditing existing and proposed new institutional structures to eliminate wastage due to duplication, overlaps and unproductive competition among various decision-making centers; assess the relevancy, appropriateness, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the proposed structures;
    5. Identification of the institutional and governance structures which are needed to implement the reforms;
    6. ensuring that the cost of implementation of the policy is fully- budgeted,  as part of land sector reform;



    287. A critical challenge in land policy implementation involves the programming of its various components. This entails the design of appropriate legislative, institutional and preparation of a programme of activities based on the strategies, sequencing implementation of programme components, and development and operationalisation of specific indicators for measuring programme implementation effects. Because much of this will involve other institutions operating on the basis of their own independent calendars, programming must be preceded by the widest possible consultation with government, the legislature, local authorities and community governance structures. In addition, to be effective any agency taking the lead on NLP implementation must get the close co-operation of other key ministries and agencies responsible for local government and those in the land use and natural resources/environment sectors. 

Policy Statement

    288. Government shall undertake the preparation of a detailed Action Plan for Implementation of the National Land Policy and implement it. 


289. Government shall take following measures:

    1. put in place  a multiple-sectoral and multi-disciplinary committee to oversee land policy implementation.
    2. establish a Land Policy Implementation Unit by transforming the current National Land Policy Secretariat, to spearhead programme implementation through research, consultation, capacity building, and education;
    3. propose a time-table for the review of existing legislation and institutional arrangements in the land sector in accordance with the provisions of the national policy;
    4. engage the legislature, the Attorney-General’s Office,  the Law Reform Commission and local governments with a view to presenting, as a comprehensive package of all legislative measures required to implement the national land policy;
    5. design and strengthen structures for co-ordination of programme implementation between land related sectors and other socio-economic sectors;
    6. accord priority to the implementation of programme components that are key to the revitalization of the land sector;
    7. define the roles of the lead ministry, other key actors, including development partners and non-state actors such as private sector and civil society;
    8. Innovatively deploy personnel to the policy implementation unit under suitable time-bound contractual terms that are attractive to results –oriented performance and management.


    290.  Specific tasks of the National Land Policy Implementation Unit will include, among others:
    1. Facilitation the drafting of all legislation necessary to implement this national policy;
    2. Establishment and reform of relevant institutions for the implementation of the National Land Policy;
    3. Mobilization of financial and other resources for effective and efficient funding of the land policy implementation process;
    4. Recruitment and training of required professionals and personnel in the implementation of this national policy;
    5. Organization of civic education and public awareness creation for stakeholder participation and understanding.



    291. Even though the national land policy will have been discussed and agreed to by a broad spectrum of land sector stakeholders, it is important that awareness of the content of the final document is further disseminated for stakeholder ownership and understanding. A broad programme of education and awareness must be implemented through an IEC Strategy throughout the country.  This would ensure that the national land policy is fully- understood. 

Policy Statement

    292. Government shall disseminate the National Land Policy after Cabinet approval. 


    293. To achieve an operational level of awareness for the national land policy, action will be taken to:
    1. translate the final version of the policy into all major indigenous languages;
    2. train and build capacity of local and community leaders in the implementation of the policy;
    3. implement the Land Policy IEC Strategy;
    4. prepare materials for civic education and other materials for public education on the policy;
    5. Comply and respect the right of access to information on the policy as well as land policy implementation plans;
    6. Ensure continued public debate and discourse on land issues, self-assessment and feed-back on the land policy framework to secure confidence of those who use, manage, and administer land resources.



    294. Successful implementation of the national land policy will depend on continuing support and confidence of stakeholders. Stakeholder must participate and be constructively engaged at all levels of policy implementation. Key stakeholders in implementation include different government departments, development partners, private sector, civil society organizations, professional bodies, and other non-state actors. 

Policy Statement

    295. Government shall involve all stakeholders, as partners, in implementation of the National Land Policy for continuous legitimacy. 


    296. In order to ensure that stakeholders are fully involved in land policy implementation, measures will be put in place to ensure that:
    1. a platform exists for professional organizations to discuss changes proposed in the land policy and to identify appropriate strategies for the  programme of action under it;
    2. support of stakeholders is sought in the preparation, operationalisation of the monitoring and evaluation framework;
    3. structured technical and financial support is given to non-state actors;
    4. development partners, the private sector and civil society are able to contribute resources for the implementation of the policy;
    5. design a formal approach towards co-operation and co-ordination with non-state actors, i.e. need to sign a joint statement of intent, partnership principles or a code of conduct.
    6. All stakeholder groups are aware of their roles in national land policy implementation



    297. Successful land policy implementation is to be built round land reforms in Uganda to enable a faster rate of economic transformation.  It is important, therefore, that visible mechanisms be in place for monitoring progress and where necessary, selective revision of some elements of the land policy.  The monitoring and evaluation system will be based on appropriate national monitorable indicators, established for integrated monitoring of the economy in general and the land economy in particular. The purpose of monitoring and evaluation will be to assess the effectiveness of the policy in practice for attainment of policy objectives, stated earlier as well as  factors that determine policy performance and outcomes. 

Policy Statement

    298.  The Government shall institutionalize a monitoring, review and evaluation framework for the implementation of the National Land Policy. 


    299. To institutionalize monitoring and evaluation system, measures will be put in place to:
    1. develop and implement a  national land policy implementation monitoring and evaluation system;
    2. develop appropriate tools for policy refinement and contextualization;
    3. integrate land policy values and principles into political discourse of Uganda;
    4. link the Monitoring and Evaluation System to other National Policy monitoring processes for the National Development Plan;
    5. define roles and responsibilities of all key stakeholders and players in Monitoring and Evaluation.


    300. Maintain the consistency of the National Land Policy with all emerging land issues in the country through;
    1. periodic reviews of the land sector and the policy by identifying persistent and / or new issues requiring new or further policy interventions;
    2. review of the principles and policy objectives of the National Land Policy at least every ten years;
    3. periodic review or as necessary, the National  Land Policy Implementation Action Plan and Strategies ;
    4. Awareness creation for all stakeholders of policy prescriptions in respect of all issues reviewed.


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