Uganda National Land Policy

http://ulaug.org/new/wp-content/uploads/Uganda-Land-Policy-Final-Draft-3...

Draft 5 of the National LandPolicy as of 30th March 2011.

Note: This is easier to read from the Uganda Land Alliance website url above.

REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
MINISTRY OF LANDS, HOUSING AND URBAN
DEVELOPMENT
THE UGANDA NATIONAL LAND POLICY
FINAL DRAFT
MARCH, 2011
©Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development,
Century Building,
Plot No. 13/15, Parliament Avenue.
Kampala, Uganda.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FOREWORD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
BACKGROUND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
I. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
II. THE LAND QUESTION IN UGANDA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
A. Historical Background and Colonial Legacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
B. Contemporary Land Policy Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
C. Issues of Land Administration and Land Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
III. RATIONALE FOR THE NATIONAL LAND POLICY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
CHAPTER 1: OVERALL AGENDA OF THE LAND POLICY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.1 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.2 VISION OF THE POLICY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.3 POLICY GOAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.4 POLICY OBJECTIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.5 GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR THE NATIONAL LAND POLICY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
11
CHAPTER 2: THE CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
2.1 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
2.2 RESIDUAL SOVEREIGNTY OVER LAND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
2.3 THE POWER OF COMPULSORY ACQUISITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.4 PUBLIC REGULATION OF LAND USE AND DEVELOPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.5 LAND TAXATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
2.6 PUBLIC TRUSTEESHIP OVER NATURAL RESOURCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2.7 GOVERNMENT LAND AND PUBLIC LAND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.8 MINERALS AND PETROLEUM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
2.9 LAND TENURE REGIMES FOR UGANDA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
CHAPTER 3: THE LAND TENURE FRAMEWORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
3.1 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
3.2 CLASSIFICATION OF LAND TENURE REGIMES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
3.3 CUSTOMARY LAND TENURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
3.4 MAILO TENURE AND NATIVE FREEHOLD TENURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
3.5 FREEHOLD TENURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
3.6 LEASEHOLD TENURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
3.7 COMMON PROPERTY RESOURCES ON PRIVATE LAND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
3.8 LAND RIGHTS OF ETHNIC MINORITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
3.9 LAND RIGHTS OF PASTORAL COMMUNITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
3.10 LAND RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
3.11 LAND RIGHTS OF DWELLERS IN INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS AND SLUMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
3.12 LAND RIGHTS OF OTHER VULNERABLE GROUPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
3.13 RESTORATION OF ASSETS AND PROPERTIES TO TRADITIONAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
RULERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
3.14 THE KIBAALE LAND QUESTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
3.15 LAND MARKETS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ ii
3.16 A CCESS TO LAND FOR INVESTMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
3.17 MEASURES FOR PROTECTION OF LAND RIGHTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
CHAPTER 4: LAND RIGHTS ADMINISTRATION FRAMEWORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
4.1 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
4.2 LAND RIGHTS ADMINISTRATION SYSTEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
4.3 LAND RIGHTS DELIVERY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
4.4 LAND RIGHTS DEMARCATION, SURVEY AND MAPPING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
4.5 LAND INFORMATION SYSTEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
4.6 LAND DISPUTES RESOLUTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
4.7 REVENUE GENERATION AND FISCAL FUNCTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
CHAPTER 5: LAND USE AND LAND MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
5.1 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
5.2 THE LAND SECTOR IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
5.2.1 Land Ownership and Land Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
5.2.2 Integration of the land sector with other productive sectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
5.2.3 Optimal and Sustainable Use and Management of Land resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
5.3 LAND USE PLANNING AND REGULATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
5.4 LAND QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY ASSURANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
5.5 NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
5.6 HUMAN SETTLEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
5.7 AGRICULTURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
5.8 CLIMATE CHANGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
5.9 INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR MANAGEMENT OF LAND- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
BASED RESOURCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
CHAPTER 6: REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL FRAMEWORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
6.1 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
6.2 REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS AND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
OBLIGATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
6.3 CONVERGENCE ON LAND POLICY AND LEGISLATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
6.4 MANAGEMENT OF TRANS-BOUNDARY RESOURCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
6.5 CROSS-BORDER POPULATION MOVEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
6.6 INTER-STATE BORDER DISPUTES AND CONFLICTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
CHAPTER 7: FRAMEWORK FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NATIONAL LAND
POLICY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
7.1 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
7.2 COSTING IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LAND POLICY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
7.3 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR THE NATIONAL LAND POLICY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
7.4 PUBLIC EDUCATION AND DISSEMINATION OF THE LAND POLICY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
7.5 STAKEHOLDER PARTICIPATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
7.6 REVIEW, MONITORING AND EVALUATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ iii
FOREWORD
The Odoki (1988) and the Sempebwa (2003) Constitutional Review Commissions,
underscored the importance of a comprehensive national 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.
In 2001, the Ministry responsible for lands instituted a multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary
National Land Policy Working Group (NLPWG) to steer the policy making
process and deliver for Uganda a systematic framework for articulating the role of land in
national development, land ownership, distribution, utilization, alienability, management
and control.
To ensure that the Land Policy is relevant and consistent with other policy position,
various policies and strategic plans developed by different Government Ministries and
Agencies were reviewed. Stakeholder input was secured from countrywide consultations
in ten (10) Regional Consultative Workshops and several Special Interest Groups
Consultative meetings. 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. A National Land Conference was held in May 2010, to build consensus on
contentious issues and to adopt policy statements and strategies contained in the draft.
This policy therefore reflects the views of Ugandans. It is a hallmark of the rare sense of
dialogue and collaboration between the Government and the Citizenry in tackling,
arguably, the most emotive, culturally sensitive, political volatile and economically central
issue in Uganda. The participation of all stakeholders will continue to be sought and
enhanced by encouraging regular consultations and dialogue during the implementation of
this policy. The Government, on its part, will provide an enabling policy environment
through the establishment of essential institutions and provision of sufficient financial
support.
In this way, I am confident that we will collectively achieve the vision of the National
Land Policy of “Sustainable and optimal use of land and land-based resources for
transformation of Ugandan society and the economy”.
HON. DANIEL OMARA ATUBO
MINISTER FOR LANDS, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 1
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
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 National Land Policy, therefore, consolidates a number of scattered policies,
which exist on various aspects of the land question, but are diverse, sectoral and
inconclusive in many respects. Post-independence and recent attempts to settle the land
question by the Land Reform Decree 1975, the 1995 Constitution of Uganda, and the Land
Act 1998 failed to deal with the fundamental issues in land tenure due to absence of clear
policy principles to inform the enactment of legislation that offers politically and socially
acceptable and technically feasible solutions.
The key policy issues touch on (1) historical injustices and colonial legacies, (2)
contemporary issues, mainly arising from such legacies; and (3) land use and land
management issues. The land question has origins in the legacy of colonialism, wherein
historical injustices deprived some communities of their ancestral land rights. In addition,
a legal dualism in the property system, a multiplicity of tenure regimes, multiple rights and
interests overlapping in the same piece of land were the consequences. This set the scene
for a heritage of evictions, arbitrary dispossession, land disputes and conflicts. Land
disputes and conflicts broken across national boundaries, spread to tribal and ethnic
groupings, and merged with current phenomena 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. This is all happening in a situation where land dispute resolution mechanisms
have broken down and land justice has become a nightmare to many land holders.
In the current era, Uganda faces the challenges of a rapidly growing population which has
put pressure and competition on the scarce land resources. Such an objective would not be
elusive to attain if land management was premised on a policy emphasizing sustainable
and optimal use of the land. However, no such policy direction is in place. Thus, land
resources have been chronically under-utilized and inefficiently managed. There is no
clear government policy on the management of government land, public land and public
trust natural resources, leading to inefficiency and abuse. Land administration is
inadequately resourced, and it is performing very poorly in service delivery. In addition
there are tendencies of corruption and fraud in the system. As performance standards are
eroded, the public is slowly losing confidence in the entire land administration system,
which is increasingly becoming dysfunctional.
To address these problems, the Government of Uganda presents this National Land Policy,
resulting from a widely consultative and highly interactive process. The vision of the
policy is: “Sustainable and optimal use of land and land-based resources for
transformation of Ugandan society and the economy”. The goal of the policy is: “to
ensure efficient, equitable and sustainable utilization and management of Uganda’s
land and land-based resources for poverty reduction, wealth creation and overall
socio-economic development”.
This National Land Policy, among other things, seeks to re-orient the land sector in
national development by articulating management and co-ordination between the land
sector and other productive sectors in the economy to enhance the contribution of the
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 2
sector to the social and economic development of the country. The policy has a bifocal
emphasis on ownership of land and land use, stipulates incentives for sustainable and
productive use, as well as other measures to achieve land management and land
development objectives.
The policy identifies lack of clarity and certainty of land rights in all the tenure regimes to
be a critical issue and in this regard, measures are proposed to disentangle the multiple,
overlapping and conflicting rights over registered land. Historical land injustices have
been singled out for special redress. The policy has also addressed the complexity and
ambiguity in the Constitutional and legal framework, governing the land relations between
the Government and the citizens of Uganda. It affirms that citizens of Uganda shall
exercise their residual authority over land collectively through the State. It avers that the
Government shall hold and manage public land, government land and public trust natural
resources in strict conformity with the acceptable principles of the public trust doctrine.
This policy overhauls the existing institutional framework for land administration and land
management to facilitate the delivery of efficient, cost-effective and equitable services.
Essential reforms for stemming off escalating land conflicts and land evictions have
necessitated the re-instatement of Land Tribunals and creation of a special division in the
Magistrates Courts and the High Court, for handling land disputes. Furthermore, the
pressure for resolution of disputes will be relieved by the legal recognition of the dual
operation of both customary and statutory systems in land rights administration, land
dispute resolution and land management by empowering customary authorities to perform
these functions.
This policy affirms that 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. Some of the land
administration and management functions will be delegated to the district local
governments. To implement this policy, a National Land Policy Implementation Unit will
be designated to plan and implement the proposed measures and strategies reporting to a
multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary committee which will oversee the implementation.
By way of contents, this policy begins with Introduction giving the background and
definition of the land question; Chapter 1 covers the Overall Framework for the Land
Policy; while Chapter 2 covers the Constitutional and Legal Framework. Chapter 3
presents the Land Tenure Framework; Chapter 4 covers the Land Rights Administration
Framework; while Chapter 5 presents the Land Use and Management Framework. Chapter
6 presents the Regional and International Framework for Management of Land and Landbased
resources and; Chapter 7 outlines the Framework for Implementation of the Land
Policy.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 3
BACKGROUND
I. INTRODUCTION
Land is usually a political issue with potential to be volatile. In this regard, its control
continues to be a critical factor in Uganda. Land is the most 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. It 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.
II. THE LAND QUESTION IN UGANDA
A. Historical Background and Colonial Legacy
The advent of colonialism left a historical legacy structured around land relations and
management. Initially, colonialists introduced individualised ownership of property rights
in land previously held either communally or on the basis of sovereign trustees, in the
process, an intricate system of political relationships was legitimized. The newly
introduced system of property ownership was super-imposed to either supersede existing
indigenous land rights systems or formally confirm pre-existing customary arrangements
as the case for kingdom areas. In other parts of the country outside the kingdom areas,
customary tenure was left to continue existing with moderation but without chance to
evolve properly. This duality of property rights systems resulted in land tenures, whose
maintenance has turned cumbersome and confusing in the current social, economic and
political circumstances.
Perhaps the most critical and challenging elements of Uganda’s land question, courtesy of
a colonial legacy, are to do with disentangling the multiple and conflicting tenure rights
and interests, often overlapping in the same piece of land. At the time of creation of mailo
and native freeholds, pre-existing private interests of smallholders, mainly land use rights
were not legally recognized. Despite attempts to rectify this, with the enactment of the
Busuulu and Envujjo Law of 1928 for Buganda and similar laws in Ankole and Tooro in
1938, the multi-layered structure of rights persisted and has become a defining
characteristic of the complexity of land relations in Uganda today. It has been largely
blamed for the escalating land conflicts and evictions in the central region where resolving
dual interests of ownership between the registered owner and the lawful or bonafide
occupants is nearly impossible, in addition to mediating and sustaining relations for
harmonious co-existence, that is untenable.
The landlord-tenant relationship as enacted under the Land Act, (Cap 227) has become
controversial around three issues: the definition of bonafide occupant, the rights conferred
on the tenants and the rent payable. The Land (Amendment) Act, 2010 attempted to
address these issues although some remain unresolved. Conflicts are also related to the
Land Reform Decree, 1975 introduced further anarchy in land management, through
occupation of large chunks of other people’s land without regard to ownership rights.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 4
The Buganda Kingdom has been making persistent demand for the return of its public
land, the estimated ‘9000 square miles’, the 1500 square miles of forests, and the 160
square miles of official estates at county and sub-county headquarters in Buganda,
confiscated by the central government in 1967 and vested in the Uganda Land
Commission. The Traditional Rulers (Restitution of Assets and Properties) Act, 1993
which instantly returned assets and properties specified in the schedule of the Act, made
provision that the rest of the properties and assets not included in the schedule, be returned
following negotiations between the Government and the traditional rulers. The principles
governing this negotiation were never detailed even though they are necessary for
attaining social harmony and to calm strained relations between the central government
and the Buganda Kingdom over this matter.
The Kibaale land question, which should have been fixed by the 1964 Referendum on the
counties of Buyaga and Bugangaizi, became contentious in the Constituent Assembly
(1993-95) as the new Constitution of Uganda of 1995 was being debated. Government
resettlement schemes in 1973 and 1992, and the incessant immigration and settlement by
non-indigenous Banyoro, further complicated what started off as a land question, turning it
into a political question, as immigrants gained political control. The resentment to this turn
of events bred political tensions and ethnic conflicts, often with violent clashes. Currently,
the indigenous Banyoro are worried that they may never be able to regain their ancestral
land which is formally held by absentee Baganda landlords in mailo tenure and is now
increasingly being taken over by immigrants. Additionally, public lands especially forest
reserves have been massively encroached by immigrants. Basing on the Land Act (Cap
227), the Government paid off some absentee landlords, but due to limited budget
allocations, the bigger part of the mailo land is yet to be bought out. As the government
buys out absentee landlords, it is not clear how the re-possessed land will be distributed or
shared by both the immigrants and the lawful occupants who are Banyoro.
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.
B. Contemporary Land Policy Issues
Having ratified several international human rights instruments on gender equality and
protection of women’s rights, Uganda is hailed for having some of the best policy,
constitutional and legal frameworks relating to gender, and particularly to women’s land
rights. However, 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
legalization, the practice does not acknowledge these changes. Culture and custom, for
example, continue to support transmission of land to men, as women’s inheritance rights
in land remain tenuous, thus only enjoyed at the mercy of their male relatives. The
provision for spousal co-ownership of land forms part of the Domestic Relations Law
which is split into the Marriage and Divorce Bill, 2010 and the Administration of Muslim
Personal Law Bill, 2010 having failed to form part of the Land Act (Cap 227). Sections of
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 5
the Marriage law and Succession law, discriminating against women that were debarred as
a result of test-case litigation are yet to be reformed and re-integrated into the statue
books.
Land disputes and conflicts have become part of the definition of contemporary Uganda.
Trans-state boundary disputes, boundary disputes or conflicts between districts, hot spots
of ethnic land conflicts, conflicts between pastoralists and agriculturalists are all on the
rise. Evictions on registered land between owners and the occupants are also on the rise.
Efforts by government agencies to conserve vital ecosystems have resulted in violent
conflicts that are sometimes fatal, as they wrestle encroachment in protected areas. The
capacity of the Ministry responsible for lands, the Justice Law and Order Sector
institutions, administrators in the districts and politicians, to tackle land conflicts is
stretched. Attempts by the Land (Amendment) Act 2010, to criminalize eviction of
tenants, are yet to bear effect, because implementation is in infancy stage. Devising a
comprehensive, legitimate, accessible and cost-effective framework to tackle root or
structural causes of conflicts, disputes and frictions arising from unjust actions in the past,
is a prime challenge in tackling uncertainty and insecurity in land rights.
It is estimated that Uganda’s population will be 32.4 million, shooting up to 39.3 million
in the year 2015 and 54.9 million in 2025, growing at a rate 3.4% per annum. With such
enormous population increases exerting pressure on land, the old rules are no longer
sufficient to maintain cordial relations between users and owners of land. Conflicts
therefore, are arising naturally due to competing uses, unless alternative ways of relieving
the pressure off the land, without unjust loss of rights or interests in land are provided. The
ultimate solution rests with a vibrant services sector, an expanding industrial sector and an
urbanization policy.
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. It has equally raised concerns with regard to tenure, compensation,
displacement and resettlement. Article 244 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda vests all
minerals and petroleum in the Government on behalf of the Republic of Uganda. The
Citizens of Uganda, strongly deem these vital resources to be vested in the State in trust
for the common good of all citizens. As anticipated, the rush to secure land in oil- rich
areas is threatening communal lands which are neither demarcated or surveyed nor titled.
Cases of land grabbing from indigenous communities are common as holders are insecure
and do not, possess formalized rights to benefit from sharing of royalties as provided for
under the Constitution.
C. Issues of Land Administration and Land Management
Although the National Land Use Policy (2007) 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 make, its implementation a probable nightmare. For instance, vesting wetlands
in the State in trust for the citizens of Uganda, without unraveling the ownership rights
that existed at the time of vesting the resource has stalled the implementation of the
wetlands policy in areas where legal and valid titles to these wetlands resources exist. The
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 6
policy’s envisioned “wise land use” is untenable, as evictions without compensation, may
amount to violation of the constitutionally entrenched principle of “sanctity of property”.
The land administration system is inadequately resourced and performing poorly below
expected standards with tendencies of fraud and corruption. The dual system of land
administration (the formal/statutory and informal/customary) breeds conflict, confusion
and overlaps in institutional mandates. For the greater percentage of Uganda, where
customary tenure still abounds, the roles of traditional institutions of land management,
dispute resolution and land governance have not been legally accepted, integrated and
mandated to execute their functions. Some elements of political interference have severely
hindered progress in public delivery of land services, making it slow, cumbersome,
frustrating and too costly to the public. Decentralized services are very thin on the ground
and have failed to perform to expectations.
The 1995 Constitution created a public trust over specified important renewable natural
resources such as natural lakes, rivers, wetlands, forest reserves, game reserves and
national parks, vesting them in the State to hold and protect for the common good of all
citizens of Uganda. Legally, these natural resources moved from the absolute ownership of
the government to the public realm, under a constitutionally brokered fiduciary
relationship between the State and the citizens of Uganda. 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, license or permit. However,
the State has often failed to observe the well-established principles of the public trust
doctrine. It has inefficiently exercised the trustee powers resulting in under-utilization and
inefficient management of these natural resources.
The Government of Uganda 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, as well as facilitating investors to access land. One of the major
concerns in the land sector at present 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 nonexistent
and /or non-transparent processes and procedures. This in effect, has weakened
institutions governing use and management of these lands and natural resources. The
allocations have not considered the ecological, environmental, economic and social
impacts, and as such have displaced vulnerable land and natural-resource-dependent
communities, whose rights of land access, food security and livelihoods are lost. Whereas
private sector investment in land and natural resources is necessary and should be
promoted, safeguards ought to be put in place to ensure, a transparent process, with due
diligence, so that land rights of the vulnerable sections of society and the environment are
not compromised.
In the course of receipt of land policy submissions from the public on this policy, 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. The speculative accumulation and holding of non-productive land brings about
shortage of land for settlement, investment and production. Whereas a land tax is proposed
to deal with this pattern, such a tax cannot be designed for raising revenue. It should aim
to achieve optimality in the use of land. Henceforth, considerations taking into account,
the protection of smallholder producers with low acreage, land use and agricultural
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 7
practices that entail fallowing or un-use to allow for re-generation of land-based resources,
or land preserved for conservation and environment, deserve to be exempted from the levy
of land tax.
III. RATIONALE FOR THE NATIONAL LAND POLICY
A national land policy 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. Without a comprehensive policy, it is a challenge to confront the fact that land
is a factor of production influenced by and interacting with socio-cultural processes as
well as 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 rests on the reasons below:
1. The need to reduce ambiguity on sector-level by comprehensively integrating
scattered and isolated policy statements on different aspects of sustainable land
use, enacted in response to isolated sub-sectoral demands in agriculture,
environment, natural resources management, housing, transport and in policy for
private sector development and industrialization. A harmonized framework with a
common horizontal denominator is necessary to stem sub-sectoral conflict
regarding administrative decisions, regulation and laws that quite often overlap,
leading to serious administrative conflicts and bureaucratic competition for
responsibility and resources. Regulating use and land development without losing
sight of tenure issues requires an integrated policy for identification of effective
inter-linkages between the land and other productive sectors.
2. Post-independence attempts to settle the land question through the Land Decree
1975, the Constitution of Uganda 1995 and the Land Act 1998 failed to deal with
historical complexities and fundamental issues underlying land tenure relations in
their entirety. It appears the Land Act did not exhaust all the critical issues on the
content and viability of property rights under various tenure categories, thus failed
to streamline land tenure in a manner that instills confidence in individuals,
communities, and institutions that own or desire to own land as an asset. Despite a
break from the past, by vesting residual authority in the Citizens of Uganda, the
1995 Constitution created substantial ambiguities in how land as a property is dealt
with.
3. 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.
There is need to re-focus the discourse on land from over-emphasis on property
rights per se, to its essential resource value in development. This is necessary as
land resources remain chronically under-utilized and inefficiently managed.
However, it is not to suggest that the protection of property rights should be
secondary to land development, the two have to be aligned.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 8
4. The continued growth of the country will require a coherent and pragmatic
approach to sustainable and optimal land use and management which cannot be
attained without a national land policy. As a development resource, agricultural
land in Uganda has not always been optimally and sustainably used. The primary
reason is that traditional 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, to free the land for extensive
agricultural production, by creating alternatives in the services and industrial
sectors.
5. Land degradation continues to be a great cost to the quality of land resources
within Uganda mostly in the highlands and the cattle corridor. It is estimated, for
example, that land deterioration accounts for over 80% of the annual costs of
environmental damage, a situation the country can hardly afford. In addition, land
reserved for conservation purposes continues to pose challenges as regards, biodiversity
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.
6. 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
governance, environmental governance, shared aquatic, terrestrial and other transboundary
resources which require adherence to specific principles in land sector
management. These instruments call for establishment of an international
framework for environmental governance, land use and land management with
countries party to them. Uganda is expected to comply with these frameworks.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 9
CHAPTER 1: OVERALL AGENDA OF THE LAND POLICY
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1. The National Land Policy vision, goal, objectives and principles, aim for
sustainable management of land and its resources. The policy acknowledges the
centrality of land in social and economic development, by leveraging the land
resource base for all productive sectors for Uganda’s transition from a rural
subsistence agro-based economy to a modern economy, through sustained
economic growth, employment creation, supporting industrialization, urbanization
and the growth of a vibrant services sector.
1.2 VISION OF THE POLICY
2. The vision of this National Land Policy is: ‘sustainable and optimal use of land
and land-based resources for transformation of Ugandan society and the
economy’.
1.3 POLICY GOAL
3. The goal of this National Land Policy is: “to ensure efficient, equitable and
sustainable utilization and management of Uganda’s land and land-based
resources for poverty reduction, wealth creation and overall socio-economic
development”.
1.4 POLICY OBJECTIVES
4. The objectives of this National Land Policy are:
(i) To enhance the contribution of the land sector to overall socio- economic
development, wealth creation and poverty reduction in Uganda;
(ii) To harmonize and streamline the complex tenure regimes in Uganda for
equitable access to land and security of tenure;
(iii) To clarify the complex and ambiguous constitutional and legal framework
for sustainable management and stewardship of land resources;
(iv) To redress historical injustice to protect land rights of groups and
communities marginalized by history or on the basis of gender, religion,
ethnicity and other forms of vulnerability to achieve balanced growth and
social equity;
(v) To reform and streamline land rights administration to ensure efficient,
effective and equitable delivery of land services;
(vi) To ensure sustainable utilization, protection and management of
environmental, natural and cultural resources on land for national socioeconomic
development;
(vii) To ensure planned, environmentally-friendly, affordable and orderly
development of human settlements for both rural and urban areas, including
infrastructure development; and
(viii) To harmonize all land-related policies and laws, and strengthen institutional
capacity at all levels of Government and cultural institutions for sustainable
management of land resources.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 10
1.5 GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR THE NATIONAL LAND POLICY
5. The principles that underpin and guide this national land policy include:
(i) Land is a natural gift for all Citizens of Uganda to hold, own, enjoy, use and
develop either individually or in association with others;
(ii) Land policy must guarantee the right to own land and provide specific
guidelines to govern the acquisition of the land by non-citizens of Uganda;
(iii) Land is a basic natural resource central to the development of Uganda, its use
and development must contribute to poverty reduction;
(iv) Land must be productively used and sustainably managed for increased
contribution to economic productivity and commercial competitiveness;
(v) Land policy must address all the multiple social, cultural, economic,
ecological and political functions of land;
(vi) Access to and transmission of land must reflect concern with equity and
justice irrespective of gender;
(vii) Management of land resources must contribute to democratic governance, by
nurturing institutions and procedures for resolution of land disputes and
conflicts;
(viii) Management of land resources must mitigate environmental effects, reverse
decline in soil quality and land quality;
(ix) Land policy must guide the development of policies in other productive
sectors;
(x) Civil society organizations, faith-based institutions, cultural institutions and
the private sector must work hand in hand with government actors to achieve
the vision, goal and objectives of this policy.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 11
CHAPTER 2: THE CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 INTRODUCTION
6. Land is at the centre of the constitutional and legal discourse in Uganda, drawing
legitimacy from historical as well as contemporary political exigencies.
Ambiguities that arose in the 1995 Uganda Constitution with regard to the
sovereign powers of the State are clarified in this policy. The role of the State in
land management effected through the sovereign powers of radical title, eminent
domain or compulsory acquisition, police power of the State, the doctrine of
trusteeship, land taxation, use and management of government and public land is
articulated. The fiduciary relationship between the State and the citizens of Uganda
created under the 1995 Constitution and the Land Act 1998 for the efficient
utilization and management of land-based resources is re-affirmed.
2.2 RESIDUAL SOVEREIGNTY OVER LAND
7. Article 237(1) of the 1995 Constitution, states that land belongs to the citizens of
Uganda, making Uganda the first State in Sub-Saharan Africa to vest its ‘radical
title’ in its Citizens. Much as this vestment, resolved an important historical
anachronism in the land law namely, the location of radical title, it is not entirely
clear how the citizens of Uganda, individually or collectively can; (i) assert
residual authority against the State, local authorities, and community governance
organs in respect of land which is not owned by anybody or any authority; (ii)
exercise the residual sovereignty over all land. In addition, the State continues to
guarantee “any title to land” without legal basis since the radical title is vested in
the citizens of Uganda, just as the authority to allocate land, by District Land
Boards, appears not to rest on any recognized reversionary title.
Policy Statements
8. (a) The radical title to all land in Uganda shall vest in the Citizens of
Uganda;
(b) The State shall exercise residual sovereignty over all land in Uganda in
trust for the Citizens of Uganda;
(c) The State shall guarantee all titles to land issued under the radical title
on behalf of the Citizens of Uganda.
9. To clarify the radical title, Government shall:
(i) amend the Constitution of Uganda, article 237 (1) and the Land Act, (Cap
227), to authorize the State to exercise power under the radical title on behalf
of the citizens of Uganda;
(ii) Revoke authority previously granted to District Land Boards to hold and
allocate land not owned by any person or authority, as such land no longer
obtains in contemporary Uganda;
(iii) Set terms and conditions for accountable use and management of all land
held by District Land Boards in trust for the citizens of Uganda; and
(iv) Provide for District Land Boards to hold the reversionary interest on behalf
of the citizens of Uganda for leaseholds granted out of public land.
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2.3 THE POWER OF COMPULSORY ACQUISITION
10. The 1995 Constitution of Uganda empowers 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. The central
government has not in the past, exercised this power responsibly and strictly in the
public interest. The same power is also extended to local governments without
sufficient capacity to meet compensation requirements.
Policy Statements
11. The State as a trustee for the citizens of Uganda, shall exercise the power of
compulsory acquisition, responsibly and strictly in public interest;
Strategies
12. To clarify the power of compulsory acquisition, the Constitution, the Land Act and
the Land Acquisition Act shall be amended to:
(i) automatically restitute original owners where public interest or purpose
justifying the compulsory acquisition of land/property fails or expires;
(ii) limit exercise of this power to the Central Government under terms
prescribed by the citizens of Uganda;
(iii) prescribe a uniform method for application of the power of compulsory
acquisition especially the payment of prompt, adequate and fair
compensation irrespective of tenure category;
(iv) establish the mechanism for local governments to exercise this power in
respect of meeting the requirements for compensation; and
(v) Prescribe a set of regulations and guidelines, the roles and responsibilities of
the different state organs and agencies in the exercise of this power.
2.4 PUBLIC REGULATION OF LAND USE AND DEVELOPMENT
13. Articles 242 and 245 of the Uganda Constitution, endow the State and Government
with power to suppress or limit undesirable land use in the interest of public
welfare and/or orderly development without revoking ownership interests or rights.
This power by its very nature is split across natural resources sub-sectors without
effective coordination and cross-sectoral institutionalization. There is
ineffectiveness in enforcement and widespread disregard of legislation and
regulations on land use / physical planning, environment and natural resource, with
limited application to urban areas. In the past, the State and central government has
not exercised this power, transparently, responsibly and strictly in public interest.
This power is extended to local governments without adequate guidelines.
Policy Statement
14. The State shall exercise the power of public regulation of land use, strictly in
the interest of socio-economic welfare and development.
Strategies
15. To address the challenges of public regulation of land use, government will take
measures to:
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(i) harmonize the application of the power of public regulation of land use by
the Central Government and local governments in a set of prescribed
guidelines;
(ii) ensure the use of police power by state agencies takes account of subsectoral
policies and laws on land use, the environment and natural
resources;
(iii) review existing legislations on public regulation of land use to conform with
the provisions of the National Land Policy;
(iv) educate the public on the need for public regulation of land use and overall
goals and merits of public regulation;
(v) 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.
2.5 LAND TAXATION
16. In Uganda, the State’s duty to regulate the use of privately owned land without
arbitrarily extinguishing interests or rights, through over-taxation or inappropriate
taxation, is embryonic except for property rates charged by local governments.
Holding large pieces of land in non-productive condition for prestige or to
speculative gain value without ‘Capital Gains Tax’, may not serve the vision and
objectives of this policy. Whereas land taxation is desirable for attaining optimality
in the use of both rural and urban land, its application cannot be advanced for
revenue purposes, until Uganda is a middle income country. Land preserved by
individuals for conservation and environment cannot be subject to this tax, just as
low acreages for smallholder farmers, who practice fallowing or un-use to allow
for re-generation of land-based resources have to be exempted. However, the call
for harmonization of tax policy on land with Partner States in the East Africa
Community (EAC) cannot be disregarded given the launch of the EAC common
market.
Policy Statement
17. (a) During the life time of this National Land Policy, the Government may
explore further the proposal to institute a comprehensive and
appropriate framework for land taxation, based on evidence derived
from technical evaluation and studies;
(b) When established, the land taxation framework may be aligned to the
mode of the East Africa Common Market and shall not result in levy of
land tax on the following:
(i) lands under agricultural practices that entail fallowing or unuse
to allow for re-generation of land-based resources;
(ii) community lands under customary tenure used for grazing and
hunting;
(iii) lands under pastoral production systems that entail extended
periods of un-use to allow for regeneration of land-based
resources; and
(iv) lands preserved for purposes of protecting and conserving the
environment.
Strategies
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18. Prior to the adoption of a land tax, the Government shall:
(i) undertake empirical and other studies to clarify the feasibility of such
taxation;
(ii) enlighten the public on the merits of the taxation measures and to gauge
public readiness for such measure;
(iii) consider phased implementation of the land tax, starting with urban areas not
in compliance with the National Land Use Plans;
(iv) sensitise and create public awareness on productive land use and
management; and
(v) promote joint venture between land owners and investors to maximize the
use and development of utilised land.
19. In the event that land taxation is adopted, the Government through an Act of
Parliament shall:
(i) define land eligible for taxation through an audit and inventory, considering
the exemptions in 17 (b) (i) – (iv) above;
(ii) amend the Land Act, Cap 227, section 41 to include provision of credit
facilities to land owners for purposes of developing their land;
(iii) define the terms and conditions under which land tax may be levied,
exempting some categories of land on the basis of:
a. a set minimum acreage for rural areas and un-improved lots in urban
areas;
b. social protection and equity;
c. disability;
(iv) consider other incentives for attaining sustainable and optimal land use that
are supplementary or complementary to land taxation.
2.6 PUBLIC TRUSTEESHIP OVER NATURAL RESOURCES
20. The 1995 Constitution of Uganda, 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, to protect for the common
good of all citizens. The Land Act, section 44 prohibits the leasing or alienation of
any of these natural resources, but allows the grant of concessions or licenses or
permits. As a trustee, the State simply holds the legal title or “corpus” to the trust
property, while exercising an ethical relationship of confidence or “fiduciary
duties” as entrusted by the citizens who are the beneficiaries of the trust. In the
absence of regulations or guidelines to govern the management and use of such
resources by the State as a trustee, including accountability and transparency
principles, the “trustee” has carried on as if the “owner” thus breaching the public
trust doctrine. Safeguards in legislation have not deterred extensive degeneration,
occasioned by administrative abuse and political interference. The rules that
delineate rights, roles, obligations of citizens and the mandate of government and
government institutions, are incoherent and need to be systematized.
Policy Statement
21. The State shall manage and protect the natural resources held under public
trust in conformity with well-established principles of the public trust
doctrine for the common good of all the citizens of Uganda.
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Strategies
22. For all natural resources held in trust under the doctrine of public trust, the State
shall in an Act of Parliament:
(i) specify, the terms and conditions under which its established agencies, use
and manage such natural resources;
(ii) clarify, criteria and procedure for gazettement and degazettement of these
natural resources;
(iii) institutionalize mechanisms, for the joint management and sharing of
benefits from these natural resources between the trustee and beneficiaries;
(iv) extend the scope of resources held by the State to include sensitive
ecosystems, marginal lands and hilltops;
(v) ensure large-scale investment decisions and activities do not compromise the
sustainable management and conservation of natural resources;
23. To stem abuse, in management and use of resources held under the public doctrine
trust in Uganda, measures will be put in place to:
(i) 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;
(ii) institutionalize mechanisms for the joint and participatory management of
these natural resources with communities owning land adjacent to, in or over
which these resources are situated;
(iii) develop criteria for equalization and compensation for foregone
opportunities as part of a benefits sharing scheme for districts or populations
where such resources are located.
2.7 GOVERNMENT LAND AND PUBLIC LAND
24. There is no clear distinction between government land and public land in
legislation. The regulations and guidelines to control the management and use,
including disposal of these lands are not dealt with in the Constitution or in the
laws of Uganda. Government presently deals with government land and public
land, without regard to the public interest, as if the two estates are held for the
beneficial interest of government as an institution. It has disposed of both estates to
investors and individuals as though they are one and the same. District Land
Boards are failing to observe that they hold public land “in trust for the citizens of
Uganda”. 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, and between the refugees and the citizens.
Policy Statements
25. (a) The State shall by statutory legislation define Government Land and
Public 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;
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(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 located. It also includes 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)
Strategies
26. To clarify the status of government land and public land, the Government shall in
an Act of Parliament:
(i) differentiate between government land and public land;
(ii) 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;
(iii) define the terms and conditions under which such land may be acquired,
used or otherwise disposed by the government and local governments;
(iv) clarify the tenure and reversionary interest in such lands especially for
holders of subsisting leaseholds;
(v) empower the State to re-possess public land or government land, given
away in an illegal or irregular manner;
(vi) Ensure District Land Boards hold and manage land entrusted to them by
the Constitution and the Land Act as trustees for the citizens of Uganda.
27. Government, through administrative and other measures, shall:
(i) adjudicate, survey, register or title these lands in the names of Uganda
Land Commission or Local Governments;
(ii) 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.
2.8 MINERALS AND PETROLEUM
28. Article 244 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda vests petroleum and mineral
resources in Government on behalf of the Republic of Uganda. This is a
contradictory location considering the fact that the radical title in land is held by
the citizens of Uganda. There is need to vest 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
29. Minerals and petroleum being strategic natural resources shall vest in the
State for the beneficial interest of all the citizens of Uganda.
Strategies
30. To ensure appropriate holding and management of strategic natural resources,
Government shall:
(i) amend Article 244 of the Constitution to vest strategic natural resources in
the State under the public trust doctrine for the benefit of the citizens of
Uganda;
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(ii) adopt an open policy on information to the public and seek consent of
communities and local governments concerning prospecting and mining of
these resources;
(iii) allow to the extent possible, co-existence of individuals and communities
owning land in areas where petroleum and minerals are discovered with
extraction activity;
(iv) protect the land rights and land resources of individuals and communities
owning land in areas where mineral and petroleum deposits exist or are
discovered;
(v) provide for restitution of land rights in event of minerals or oil being
exhausted or expired depending on mode of acquisition;
(vi) guarantee the right to the sharing of benefits by land owning communities
and recognize the stake of cultural institutions over ancestral lands with
minerals and petroleum deposits.
2.9 LAND TENURE REGIMES FOR UGANDA
31. The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the Land Act (Cap 227) 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 (Cap 227) 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.
Policy Statement
32. (a) Uganda shall maintain multiple tenure systems as enshrined in the
Constitution;
(b) The State shall clarify the nature of property rights
under the designated tenure regimes to remove uncertainties and allow
for evolution.
Strategies
33. To clarify the tenure regimes, the Constitution, the Land Act and other relevant
laws will be amended to:
(i) allow tenure regimes to evolve and develop appropriate incidents, in
response to changes in social structures, technologies of land use and market
demands in response to time, circumstance and durability;
(ii) re-affirm and strengthen the legitimacy of socially and culturally acceptable
tenure systems as a means of preserving access rights to common property
resources;
(iii) ensure recognition, strengthening and education on rights of women,
children and other vulnerable groups in all existing and emerging land
tenure regimes.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 18
CHAPTER 3: THE LAND TENURE FRAMEWORK
3.1 INTRODUCTION
34. In contemporary Uganda, diverse changes have occurred, distressing tenure
regimes in ways that create tenure insecurity and uncertainty. The structure tenure
and attributes of the bundle of rights under the mailo, freehold, leasehold and
customary regimes, shall be guided by the principles of a good tenure system. A
good tenure system must:
(i) guarantee access and security of tenure;
(ii) ensure equity in the distribution of land resources and eliminate
discrimination in ownership and transmission of land resources;
(iii) develop and evolve in response to competing social, economic and political
demands, rather than policies keen on simple replacement;
(iv) protect, preserve and conserve land–based resource and other natural
resources for future generations;
(v) facilitate planning, provision of basic services and infrastructure, and
management and enforcement of land use regulation throughout the
country.
3.2 CLASSIFICATION OF LAND TENURE REGIMES
35. There are three ways of classifying land tenure regimes. The first is in terms of the
legal regime governing tenure, for example, whether the regime is statutory
(formal) or customary (informal). The second is in terms of the manner in which
such land is used, for example, whether as private, public, or government land.
The third is in terms of the quantum of rights held i.e. whether absolute (timelessbound)
or time-bound. The Constitution and the Land Act have classified land
tenure only in terms of the first and last. Both provide that land in Uganda may be
held in terms of four tenure categories, namely customary, freehold, mailo, and
leasehold. Both 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, or community.
Policy Statements
36. (a) Land will be categorized as Private Land, Public Land and
Government Land;
(b) All land tenure systems will be defined in detail to confer social,
economic, environmental and political security to land owners,
occupiers, and user;
(c)The use and management of land held under all tenure systems shall
be subject to the regulatory powers of the State, to ensure compliance
with physical planning regulations and standards for orderly and
sustainable development.
Strategies
37. To ensure completeness in the classification of land tenure regimes, Government
will take legislative and other measures to:
(i) remove all structural and normative impediments internal to the operation of
each land tenure system;
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(ii) 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;
(iii) ensure equity in the distribution of land resources, and preserve and conserve
resources for future generations;
(iv) 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 of their access rights.
3.3 CUSTOMARY LAND TENURE
38. The majority of Ugandans hold their land in this complex system of land relations.
It is alleged that customary tenure is associated with three problems, that (a) it does
not provide security of tenure for land owners; (b) it impedes development because
it does not allow the advancement of land markets, through which, those who need
land for development can acquire it; (c) it discriminates against women, and does
not accord them land rights. The Land Act (Cap. 227) and the Constitution 1995
have been criticized for their attempts to formalize customary tenure thus
destabilizing and undermining its progressive evolution. Despite these attempts, it
continues to be:
(i) regarded and treated as inferior in practice, to other forms of registered
property rights, denying it opportunity for greater and deeper
transformation;
(ii) assessed as lesser to other tenures that have titles for proof of ownership in
courts of law in the administration of justice;
(iii) converted to freehold before it attains the totality of the bundle of rights
inherent in all other registered tenures that are held in perpetuity;
(iv) disparaged and sabotaged in preference for other forms of registered
tenures, denying it the opportunity to progressively evolve.
Policy Statement
39. (a) The State shall recognize customary tenure to be at par with other
Tenure systems;
(b) The State shall establish a customary land registry for registration of
customary tenure in its own form.
Strategies
40. To facilitate the development and evolution of customary tenure in relation to social,
economic, political and other factors, Government shall take measures to:
(i) design and implement a land registry system to support the registration of
land rights under customary tenure;
(ii) issue Certificates of Title of Customary Ownership, based on a customary
land registry that confer rights equivalent to freehold tenure;
(iii) facilitate conversion of customary land which is already privatized and
individualized into freehold tenure.
(iv) document customary land tenure rules applicable to specific communities at
the district or sub-county levels;
(v) make an inventory of common property resources owned by communities
and vest these resources in the communities to be managed under customary
law.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 20
41. To facilitate the design and evolution of a legislative framework for customary
tenure, Government shall:
(i) amend the Constitution and the Land Act (Cap 227) to permit only
individually owned customary land to be converted to freehold;
(ii) amend the Registration of Titles Act (Cap 230) to place customary tenure at
par with other tenure systems;
(iii) modify the rules of transmission of land rights under customary land tenure
to guarantee gender equality and equity;
(iv) make provision for joint ownership of family land by spouses;
(v) recognize the role of customary institutions in making rules governing land,
resolving disputes and protecting land rights;
(vi) define family and 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;
(vii) make provision for issue of titles in the names of trustees in areas with
customary land trusteeship.
42. To strengthen traditional land management and administration institutions,
Government will take measures to:
(i) recognize and enforce decisions of traditional land management by local
government and State institutions;
(ii) 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;
(iii) ensure that the decisions of traditional land management institutions uphold
constitutional rights and obligations with regard to gender equality;
(iv) develop procedures in conformity with customary land law for the allocation
and redistribution of land with consideration for inequalities and injustices.
3.4 MAILO TENURE AND NATIVE FREEHOLD TENURE
43. Mailo tenure and “native” freeholds, separate the ownership of land from
occupancy or ownership of developments by “lawful or “bonafide” occupants.
This creates conflicting interests and overlaps in rights in the same piece of land.
The definition of rights accorded to bonafide occupants in the Land Act (Cap 227)
and all the subsequent amendments, lack legitimacy on part of the land owners.
The Land (Amendment) Act 2010 grants statutory protection to the bonafide and
lawful holder and his or her successors against any arbitrary eviction as long as the
prescribed nominal ground rent is paid. However, the nominal ground rent
provided for, as opposed to economic rent is largely ignored, creating a land use
deadlock between the tenants and the registered land owner, leading to conflicts
and many times evictions. The landlord tenant relationship as legally regulated is
not amicable or harmonious and is non-operational.
Policy Statement
44. The State shall resolve and disentangle the multiple, overlapping and
conflicting interests and rights on mailo tenure and “native” freehold tenure.
Strategies
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45. To resolve the land use impasse between the lawful and bonafide occupants and
the registered land owners, Government shall take measures to:
(i) institutionalize and promote the principle and practice of land sharing and
land re-adjustment between the registered land owner and lawful or bonafide
occupant;
(ii) promote free negotiations between the two parties for one party to surrender
his/her land rights and interests at an agreed price;
(iii) facilitate either party upon ascertainment (tenant or registered land owner) to
access the Land Fund to purchase the interest of the other party on a loan
basis;
(iv) make provision in the land law for fair and just compensation adjudicated by
courts of law/land tribunals to be paid to the occupant in the case where the
land owner wants to resume his/her land;
(v) purchase the interest of the registered land owner in the land occupied by the
lawful/bonafide occupants using the Land Fund and sell the interest to the
said occupants, based on social justice and equity considerations.
46. To ensure a just, equitable and amicable landlord-tenant relationship, Government,
through legislative measures, shall:
(i) re-define bonafide occupant and the rights accorded to such occupants,
taking into account adverse possession principles and disability principle;
(ii) ensure the right of the registered land owner to rent commensurate with the
value of the land;
(iii) restore the right of the registered land owner to negotiate fair tenancy terms
with the lawful or bonafide occupant;
(iv) fix rent by a competent court/tribunal, in the event of amicable negotiations
failing, based on:
(a) the right of the registered land owner to rent commensurate with the
value of the land;
(b) the circumstances of initial occupancy or entry on the land; and
(c) size of the land occupied by the tenant.
47. In event of sale of registered land occupied by lawful or bonafide occupants, the
liabilities and obligations thereon shall be transferred automatically to the new
registered land owner.
3.5 FREEHOLD TENURE
48. The incidents of freehold tenure, which are basically standard, include the
conferment of full power of disposition and the 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 public regulation since its covenants are not
conditional.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 22
Policy Statement
49. The State, through its agencies, shall exercise regulatory power on freehold
tenure in accordance with land use planning and sustainability principles.
Strategies
50. To ensure freehold tenure drives future development, Government will:
(i) impose, through an Act of Parliament, conditional covenants on freehold
land tenure to regulate its use and development and develop concepts and
principles indigenous to Uganda for owning land under freehold;
(ii) promote systematic demarcation as a measure to reduce the cost of land
registration.
3.6 LEASEHOLD TENURE
51. Leaseholds promote sophisticated forms of concurrent ownership such as
condominiums and time-share arrangements, thus open land to a much larger range
of users and use functions. 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. Since customary tenure is now legally recognized
with rights in perpetuity, the conversion needs to be reviewed so that (i) leaseholds
issued to individuals who held land under customary tenure before the 1995
Constitution and (ii) those accidentally granted to customary owners in respect of
their holdings after the 1995 Constitution, automatically convert to freehold.
However, leaseholds granted out of former public land without any customary
rights should not be converted to freehold, since the land was not customarily
owned at the time of grant of the lease and should continue to run as leaseholds,
with the citizens of Uganda keeping the reversionary interest.
Policy Statement
52. (a) Leaseholds or analogous arrangements shall be promoted as basic
instruments for access to land for development in urban areas and
areas of high demand;
(b) Leaseholds shall only automatically convert to freehold, if a customary
tenant acquired a lease over his/her personal land.
Strategies
53. To maximize the potential of leaseholds, Government will take measures to:
(i) convert all leaseholds, issued to customary tenants over their personal land
holdings before the 1995 Constitution, to freehold;
(ii) convert all leaseholds, issued to customary owners over their personal land
holdings after the 1995 Constitution to freehold;
(iii) discontinue the conversion of leaseholds issued out of public land which was
not owned under customary tenure at the time of the grant to freehold except
for degazetted lands;
(iv) encourage the utilization of leasehold in respect of all land tenure categories
through the provision of simplified standard format;
(v) limit the duration of leasehold over public land not to exceed 99 years for
citizens of Uganda and 49 years for non-citizens, or periods consistent with
specific development requirements whichever is lesser;
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(vi) provide standards for exercise of reversionary rights to comply with firstoption-
of- renewal to the current lessee on public land;
(vii) protect the rights of any lawful or bonafide occupants on leaseholds out of
public land.
3.7 COMMON PROPERTY RESOURCES ON PRIVATE LAND
54. Common property resources are usually managed through institutional
arrangements, customs, and social conventions, designed to induce joint solutions
to issues of access and benefit-sharing. These resources are often, situate on land
owned privately by individuals and communities. The Land Act (Cap 227) and the
1995 Constitution of Uganda 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
55. (a) Government will reform laws and regulations for the management of
common property resources to conform with standards for sustainable
use and development;
(b) Government shall, in collaboration with individual or community
owners, ensure the sustainable use and management of privately
owned land-based resources.
Strategies
56. Government will take measures to institute the following reforms:
(i) identify and gazette access routes or corridors to common property resources
for public use;
(ii) enact appropriate legislation to clarify who may have access to what
categories of common property resources and how such access may be
secured;
(iii) identify, document and gazette all common property resources wherever
located and irrespective of their tenure status;
(iv) ensure that common property resources exclusively used by or available to
particular communities are directly held and managed by them;
(v) develop mechanisms which will mediate between state, local authorities,
communities and individual interests in particular common property
resources;
(vi) facilitate communities and their traditional institutions to register and
legalize their ownership over common property resources;
(vii) build capacity for management of common property resources by Local
Governments and Communities by recognizing and regularizing their roles.
3.8 LAND RIGHTS OF ETHNIC MINORITIES
57. In Uganda, the land rights of ethnic minorities 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. Establishment
of national parks and conservation areas managed by government, as well as large
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 24
scale commercial enterprises such as mining, logging, commercial plantations, oil
exploration, dam construction etc, often takes place at the expense of the rights of
such ethnic minorities. Since minorities occupy land on the basis of precarious and
unprotected land rights systems, they are exposed to constant evictions, removals
and displacements. The compensation given to these occupants is not prompt
adequate and fair as provided for by the Constitution.
Policy Statement
58. (a) Government shall, in its use and management of natural resources,
recognize and protect the right to ancestral lands of ethnic minority
groups;
(b) Government shall pay prompt, adequate and fair compensation to
ethnic minority groups that are displaced from their ancestral land by
government action.
Strategies
59. To redress the rights of ethnic minorities in natural habitats, Government will take
measures to:
(i) establish regulations by Statutory Instrument to:
(a) recognize land tenure rights of minorities in ancestral lands;
(b) document and protect such de facto occupation rights against illegal
evictions or displacements;
(c) consider land swapping or compensation or resettlement in the event
of expropriation of ancestral land of minorities for preservation or
conservation purposes;
(d) detail terms and conditions for displacement of minorities from their
ancestral lands in the interest of conservation or natural resources
extraction;
(ii) pay compensation to those ethnic minorities that have in the past been driven
off their ancestral lands for preservation or conservation purposes;
(iii) deliberate and specify benefit-sharing measures to ensure that minority
groups benefit from resources on their ancestral lands rendered to extractive
or other industry;
(iv) recognize the vital role of natural resources and habitats in the livelihood of
minority groups in the gazettement or degazettement of conservation and
protected areas.
3.9 LAND RIGHTS OF PASTORAL COMMUNITIES
60. Pastoral communities occupy rangelands with harsh climatic and ecological
conditions. The severity of competition for grazing and water resources with
neighboring communities has increased, as cultivators expand into areas suitable
for grazing. Pastoral mobility is constrained, yet it is a key ingredient in managing
the low net productivity, risk and unpredictability in the rangelands. Access to land
resources has also progressively reduced, as successive individual, private and
government agency actions, alienated grazing areas for establishment of national
parks, wildlife reserves, protected areas, government or military schemes and
ranching schemes. Whereas nomadic pastoral practices are allegedly associated
with land invasions or grabbing and “illegal” land buying in some areas, it is
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 25
necessary to protect pastoral land rights, but not at the expense of non-pastoral
communities.
Policy Statement
61. Land rights of pastoral communities will be guaranteed and protected by the
State.
Strategies
62. To protect the land rights of pastoralists, government will take measures to:
(i) ensure that pastoral lands are held, owned and controlled by designated
pastoral communities as common property under customary tenure;
(ii) develop particular projects for adaptation and reclamation of pastoral lands
for sustainable productivity and improved livelihood of communities;
(iii) protect pastoral lands from indiscriminate appropriation by individuals or
corporate institutions under the guise of investment;
(iv) promote the establishment of Communal Land Associations and use of
communal land management schemes among pastoral communities;
(v) establish efficient mechanisms for the speedy resolution of conflict over
pastoral resources, and between pastoral communities and sedentary
communities.
63. To support pastoral development, Government shall:
(i) prescribe clear principles for the ownership, control and management of
pastoral lands in a policy by the Ministry responsible for Agriculture;
(ii) prescribe clear principles for voluntary resettlement of pastoral communities
with approval of local governments in a resettlement policy;
(iii) ensure zoning to establish appropriate agro-ecological zones, pastoral
resource areas and access, maintaining an equitable balance between the use
of land for pasture, agriculture, energy, industry and for wildlife protection;
(iv) establish mechanisms for flexible and negotiated cross-border access to
pastoral resources among clans, lineages and communities for their mutual
benefit;
(v) consider restitution, compensation or resettlement of pastoral communities in
their ancestral lands, who have lost land to government over the years.
3.10 LAND RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN
64. In Uganda, women are generally unable to own or inherit land due to restrictive
practices under customary land tenure or are not economically endowed to
purchase land rights in the market. In general, customary practices in some areas of
the country continue to override statutory law in recognition and enforcement of
women’s land rights, abating unnoticed land grabbing at family level. Attempts to
redress this situation by outlawing discriminatory cultures, customs and practices
in land ownership, occupation and use, and requiring spousal consent to
transactions involving family land in the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and Land
Act, have not been effective due to failure in implementation and enforcement.
While the Land Act (Cap 227) caters for a spouse to some extent, it does not tackle
the land rights of widows, divorcees, women in co-habitation, and children.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 26
65. Strategic litigation in respect of the Divorce Act (Cap 249) and the Succession Act
(Cap 162) nullified sections of the law charged with realization and ascertainment
of land rights for vulnerable groups, especially women and children. Despite
having ratified several international instruments on human rights, these land mark
court decisions are yet to be translated into law. There is a distinct gap between
what is in law and what is in practice.
Policy Statements:
66. (a) Government shall by legislation, protect the right to inheritance and
ownership of land for women and children;
(b) The Government shall ensure that both men and women enjoy equal
rights to land before marriage, in marriage, after marriage, and at
succession, without discrimination.
Strategies:
67. To review and regulate customary law and practices in access to and ownership of
land, Government will to:
(i) ensure rules and procedures relating to succession do not impede
transmission of land to women and children;
(ii) sensitize on the discrimination against women and children with respect to
access, use and ownership of land;
(iii) review and regulate customary rules to avoid violation and abuse of family
land held in trust for the family;
(iv) restore the power of traditional leaders in matters of land administration,
conditional on their sensitivity to rights of vulnerable groups;
(v) ensure that family heads are held to their fiduciary duties to account.
68. To redress gender inequity and inequality to inheritance and ownership of land in
statutory law, Government will:
(i) design and implement a regime of matrimonial property law aimed at the
protection of spouses both within and outside marriages;
(ii) make legal provision for joint or spousal co-ownership of family land and
matrimonial home;
(iii) enforce the land rights of women and children to succession by overhauling
the succession law;
(iv) amend the Land Act provisions to restore the consent clause to protect
children;
(v) presume the existence of marriage for purpose of securing the property rights
of spouses who have acquired property in cohabitation;
(vi) provide for widows and orphans to inherit family land.
69. To ensure that women are fully integrated in all decision-making structures and
processes in access to and use of land, Government will take special measures to:
(i) mainstream gender into development planning so as to improve the status of
women;
(ii) domesticate all international conventions ratified by Government of Uganda,
which outlaw discrimination against women and children and enforce all the
principles therein;
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 27
(iii) support the implementation of the Equal Opportunities Commission as a
specialized institution to advocate for and, where relevant, implement
strategies in the National Land Policy;
(iv) solicit the support of faith based institutions and cultural leaders to accept
and implement measures in the National Land Policy designed to protect the
rights of women and children.
3.11 LAND RIGHTS OF DWELLERS IN INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS AND
SLUMS
70. Uganda’s land tenure systems have worked to the detriment of orderly
development and growth in urban areas, by allowing access to land on a limited,
temporary or illegal basis. Consequently, the supply of decent housing stock in
urban is affected, as land on which housing is constructed by landlords or by
tenants is privately-owned. It is, therefore, common for slum dwellers that form
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.
Policy Statement
71. Government will ensure the supply of affordable land in urban areas and
provide a framework for regularizing land tenure for dwellers in informal
settlements and slums.
Strategies
72. Government will take measures to:
(i) facilitate negotiations between registered land owners, the government and
dwellers of informal settlement and slums;
(ii) promote private-public partnerships to enhance tenure security and stem the
growth of slums and informal settlements;
(iii) regulate sub-division of land in urban and peri-urban areas to guarantee the
maintenance of economic security in the land sector;
(iv) promote and confer legitimacy to the land use activities of the urban poor
especially in relation to agriculture and silviculture;
(v) regulate and regularize settlement to conform with health, safety, sustainable
environment and public order standards;
(vi) mainstream informal sector activities in overall urban and rural development
plans;
(vii) accord statutory security to informal sector activities without compromising
physical planning standards and requirements; and
(viii) provide social infrastructure for informal sector developments; and provide
affordable infrastructure for self-improvement by the urban poor.
3.12 LAND RIGHTS OF OTHER VULNERABLE GROUPS
73. Persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, the terminally ill, persons-with–
disability, elders and internally-displaced persons are prone to loss of land rights
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 also exposed to eviction and displacement.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 28
Policy Statement
74. (a) Legislation and management practices shall accord all vulnerable
Groups equal land rights in acquisition, transmission, and use of
land;
(b) The State shall regulate land markets to curtail distress land sales and
ensure that the land rights of the vulnerable groups are protected.
Strategies
75. To protect the rights of all vulnerable groups Government will take legislative and
other measures to:
(i) 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;
(ii) prevent the appropriation of the land rights of vulnerable groups through
regulation and control of the land markets;
(iii) mitigate the distress land sales involving persons affected and infected by
HIV/AIDS and the terminally ill persons;
(iv) sensitize and encourage vulnerable groups to hold their ownership rights and
interests in family or community trusts;
(v) mainstream HIV/AIDS interventions in all land sector activities.
76. To protect the land rights of internally-displaced persons, Government will take
special measures to:
(i) restitute land, housing and property or paying adequate compensation or
resettling these people;
(ii) put in place mechanisms and structures for claiming restitution,
compensation or resettlement.
3.13 RESTORATION OF ASSETS AND PROPERTIES TO TRADITIONAL
RULERS
77. The Traditional Rulers (Restitution of Assets and Properties) Act, 1993 instantly
returned some assets and properties specified in its schedule to Traditional Rulers.
It stipulated that those not included in the schedule, be returned following
negotiations between the government and the traditional rulers. In the case of
Buganda Kingdom, the properties being negotiated for return include: the
estimated ‘9000 square miles’, the 1500 square miles of forests, and the 160 square
miles of official estates at county and sub-county headquarters in Buganda,
confiscated by the central government in 1967 and vested in the Uganda Land
Commission. The expeditious conclusion of this legal process based on principles
is necessary, not only for the Kingdom of Buganda, but for all the Kingdoms
including Bunyoro and Busoga, who have put forward their demands. There is also
need to stream line the ownership and management of properties returned to the
institution of the traditional rulers.
Policy Statements
78. (a) Government, upon proof of claims, shall conclusively return all
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 29
properties of traditional rulers confiscated in 1967, as provided for
under the Traditional Rulers (Restoration of Assets and Properties) Act
(Cap 247);
(b) 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 Ruler as public trust properties.
Strategies
79. For all properties returned to Traditional Rulers, measures will be taken to:
(i) draw a clear distinction between Traditional Rulers’ personal land and
property and that belonging to the Institution which is held in trust for their
subjects;
(ii) ensure the observance of a fiduciary relationship as trustees in respect of
properties returned to Traditional Rulers for the common good of their
subjects;
(iii) ensure that occupiers of restored lands are protected from illegal evictions;
(iv) prepare an inventory showing the location of such land restored and the
nature of any beneficial interest held by persons in occupation thereby.
80. For all properties yet to be returned to Traditional Rulers, Government will take
legislative and administrative measures to:
(i) develop principles on which negotiation for the conclusive return of
properties of Traditional Rulers will be based;
(ii) negotiate conclusively with all Traditional Rulers for the return of assets and
properties confiscated in 1967; and
(iii) 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;
(iv) expedite the negotiate process for all other Kingdoms, that have articulated
their claims for the return of their properties.
3.14 THE KIBAALE LAND QUESTION
81. The 1964 Referendum on the counties of Buyaga and Bugangaizi in Kibaale
district, returned territorial affiliation and administrative responsibility to Bunyoro,
but never addressed land ownership rights held by absentee Baganda landlords in
mailo tenure that the counties lost. Currently, incessant immigration and settlement
by non-indigenous Banyoro and the Government resettlement schemes of 1973 and
1992 complicated this land question, turning it into a political question, as
immigrants gain political control. The indigenous Banyoro are worried that they
may never be able to regain their ancestral land, which is now increasingly being
taken over by immigrants. In addition, public lands especially forest reserves have
been massively encroached on by immigrants, this has bred resentment, political
tensions and sometimes, violent ethnic clashes. Basing on the Land Act (Cap 227),
Government began buying out absentee landlords. However, due to limited budget
allocations the bigger part of mailo is yet to be bought. Lastly, it is not clear how
the re-possessed land will be distributed or shared between the immigrants and the
lawful occupants who are Banyoro.
Policy Statement
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82. Government shall take conclusive measures to redress historical land
injustices in a manner that promotes harmony for peaceful co-existence of
indigenous persons and immigrants in Kibaale District.
Strategies
83. To resolve the Kibaale land question, Government shall take measures to:
(i) commit sufficient resources under the Land Fund to purchase mailo interests
of all absentee land owners at market prices and restitute the land to the
indigenous persons in freehold;
(ii) develop criteria for land adjudication and re-distribution of the purchased
land by Uganda Land Commission as stipulated by the Land Act and ensure
equity in the re-distribution;
(iii) restore land ownership rights to indigenous persons and lawful immigrants to
guarantee their rights of all immigrants who accessed land legally since the
1995 Constitution of Uganda guarantees every citizen to settle anywhere in
the country;
(iv) evict all people illegally and / or irregularly settled in gazetted protected
areas in accordance with the relevant laws;
(v) formulate a resettlement policy to guide voluntary immigration and
government-led re-settlement initiatives in Uganda;
(vi) design a fair and equitable criteria for redistributing public land and land
purchased from absentee landlords in freehold;
(vii) specify or designate or create an agency for the conclusive resolution of the
Kibaale land question.
3.15 LAND MARKETS
84. 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.
Land markets by nature, are subject to imperfections and distortions caused by lack
of effective regulation, poor land use planning, and under-capitalization. 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.
There is need for infrastructure for efficient and equitable land market operations
in support of the socio-economic and cultural needs of land users. It is the duty of
the Government to regulate the operations in the land market under all tenure
regimes.
Policy Statement
85. The Government shall promote efficient, effective and equitable land markets
in all land tenure regimes.
Strategies
86. To create an enabling environment for land market functions, Government will:
(i) facilitate the exchange and transmission of land rights and interests without
compromising tenure security for individuals and communities;
(ii) identify a statutory agency or department to facilitate and regulate the land
market in Uganda;
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 31
(iii) design and implement measures to mitigate against the negative impacts of
land markets through fiscal, land-use planning and other appropriate
measures;
(iv) establish a well-functioning land information system and provide good
quality land-related information and infrastructure to access this information;
(v) 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;
(vi) make progressive improvement in the quality and completeness of cadastral
and land information databases and systems to facilitate the land market;
(vii) promote public-private partnerships to provide sufficient capacity and
finance while retaining ultimate control by the state;
(viii) promote and institutionalize the land rental market to promote access to land;
for production;
(ix) regulate the operations of non-state actors in the land market, in particular
real estate agents and other professionals.
3.16 ACCESS TO LAND FOR INVESTMENT
87. Growth in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) can lead to alienation of land from
peasant’s rights holders and result into tenure insecurity, food insecurity, land
conflicts and poverty. Mechanisms to deliver the right balance between improving
livelihoods, protecting vulnerable groups, and raising opportunities for investments
and development are needed. Determining the 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 is imperative.
Government or public land available to issue for carefully-selected private
investment, deemed of importance for socio-economic growth is limited. In the
past, Government proposed to harness the power of compulsory acquisition to
deliver land to investors; this was roundly rejected by the Citizens of Uganda
because. In some instances it was, not based on any criteria.
Policy Statements
88. (a) Government shall create an enabling environment to attract
investment on both domestic and foreign in key sectors in the
economy:
(i) in accordance with established laws and procedures
(ii) on the basis of appropriate evaluation, due process and due
diligence.
(b) Government shall put in place measures to mitigate the negative
impacts of investment so as to deliver equitable and sustainable
development.
Strategies
89. Government will put in place measures to:
(i) formulate a strategy to guide the State and its agencies in the provision of
land for investment, including measures to:
(a) regulate the amount of land investors can access in consideration of the
use that the land will be put to,
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 32
(b) follow due process (evaluation, due diligence and approval of land use
change),
(c) determine sectors open to foreign direct investment,
(d) carry out cost-benefit analysis on public facilities before allocating the
land to private investors,
(e) assemble land and allocate it through a land bank;
(ii) provide reliable and easily accessible land-based information to guide
potential investors;
(iii) remove bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption in the land institutions to
facilitate delivery of land for investment;
(iv) promote long-term benefit-sharing arrangements rather than one-off
compensation for loss of land rights, such as contract farming schemes for
small holder farmers, out growers schemes, equity-sharing schemes, use of
leaseholds and joint-ventures.
90. Protect the land rights, including rights of citizens in the face of investments, with
measures for, but not limited to;
(i) clear procedures and standards for local consultation;
(ii) mechanisms for appeal and arbitration;
(iii) facilitate access to land by vulnerable groups, smaller-scale land owners and
land users in the face of large scale farming interests;
(iv) protect and avoid degradation of natural resources and sensitive eco-systems.
3.17 MEASURES FOR PROTECTION OF LAND RIGHTS
91. 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.
92. 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.
93. The Land Act (Cap 227) allows for non-citizens to acquire interest in land not
greater than leasehold for a maximum term of 99 years. This principle needs to be
re-affirmed in this policy for effective implementation, as it is routinely
disregarded in the Land Registry and market transactions. Research as well as
consultations for development of the National Land Policy, showed that the period
is considered to be too long PA shorter lease period of 49 years was suggested as
this is sufficient for any form of investment to bear returns.
Policy Statements
94. (a) Government shall develop and implement measures for effective
assurance of enjoyment of all land rights by all citizens;
(b) Government shall set minimum land sizes for rural and urban land to
promote orderly development;
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 33
(c) Non-Citizens shall not be granted interest in land greater than
leasehold for 49 years in respect of any land in Uganda.
Strategies
95. To support land rights, measures will be put in place to;
(i) ensure land rights and land administration are integrated in the national
school curriculum;
(ii) regulate the cost of land services delivery to a minimum with regard to
demarcation and registration to make it affordable;
(iii) ensure land delivery services are further decentralized to the local authority
level;
(iv) ensure community management structures relating to land under customary
tenure are strengthened;
(v) ensure civil society participation in the protection of land rights and tenure
security of communities and vulnerable groups
(vi) regulate land ownership by non-citizens by converting all rights and interests
in land granted to non-citizens to leaseholds of not more than 49 years, with
the option to renew; and
(vii) regulate land sizes, in rural and urban areas, by setting minimum sizes as a
measure for controlling sub-divisions.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 34
CHAPTER 4: LAND RIGHTS ADMINISTRATION FRAMEWORK
4.1 INTRODUCTION
96. To ensure that the land needs of the public and individuals are processed, satisfied
and secured, this policy addresses a number of malfunctions, prominent among
which is a high degree of out-datedness, technical complexity, unclear managerial
hierarchy, inadequate resourcing, corruption tendencies and operational
inefficiency that have beset the land administration leading to poor performance in
service delivery for the land sector and other productive sectors, with which it has
intimate linkages.
4.2 LAND RIGHTS ADMINISTRATION SYSTEM
97. 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, thus institutional and systemic conflicts, parallel
practice leading to confusion as distinct roles of the various institutions under
customary / traditional and statutory institutions are not spelt out. In addition,
inconsistencies in the customary/traditional system with regard to standards, rules
and procedures are common. Land rights administration operations have
contributed to severe land rights insecurity, as a result of lack of proper record
keeping, persistent inaccuracies in land registry information, corruption and fraud
leading to 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.
Policy Statements
98. (a) Government shall fundamentally restructure the lands rights
administration system to enhance efficiency, ease of access, and costeffectiveness;
(b) Government shall recognize and harmonize the traditional customary
system with the formal statutory system in land administration.
Strategies
99. To restructure and re-engineer the land administration system, Government will
take measures to:
(i) further decentralize land rights administration functions to traditional
customary land governance levels;
(ii) consolidate and rationalize decentralized land rights administration structures
set up by the Land Act (Cap 227), in terms of cost, simplicity, efficiency,
accessibility and affordability;
(iii) re-design the hierarchy of the land rights administration to enable traditional
customary institutions to operate as the tiers of first instance in respect of
land held under customary tenure;
(iv) develop mechanisms for full and effective participation by land owners and
users, and especially women, in all land rights administration functions;
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 35
(v) maintain clear separation between the land rights administration system and
public or political administration, and insulate the land administration
structures from demands exerted by political elites;
(vi) recognize and grant legality to operations of customary land administration
institutions under the Registration of Titles Act;
(vii) provide the land rights administration institutions with resources at all levels
of operation.
4.3 LAND RIGHTS DELIVERY
100. 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. 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. It is now generally agreed that some of the land rights
administration services should either be privatized or divested as their
concentration in government institutions and agencies is the primary cause of
inefficiency and wastage. Land is a national function for which Government is
responsible as per the Sixth Schedule of the 1995 Constitution. However, the Local
Governments Act has decentralized the land administration and management
function to local governments which appears to be contrary to the Constitutional
mandate given to the Government.
Policy Statements
101. (a) Government shall be responsible for land administration and
management functions in accordance with the Constitution;
(b) Government shall overhaul the existing institutional framework for
Land administration and land management to restore efficiency, costeffective
and equity in the delivery of land services;
(c) Government shall ensure that at all level, land administration
structures and processes are transparent, accountable, efficient, costeffective
and accessible to the public.
Strategies
102. To meet the needs of users, Government will redesign the land services systems
and procedures to:
(i) establish and operationalize the regular maintenance of a land registry for the
recording and certification of land rights under customary law;
(ii) introduce modern technology in land rights management, including
computerization of all land registries commencing with those established in
urban areas;
(iii) Simplify all land registry practices through the use of model transaction
documents;
(iv) 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;
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 36
(v) through subsidiary legislation, 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;
103. To reform the delivery of land services, Government will:
(i) review the Local Governments Act to delegate some of the land
administration and management functions to local governments;
(ii) in an Act of Parliament, create a semi-autonomous state agency responsible
for land administration and management at the national level and:
(a) specify the land administration and management functions for which
the State Land Agency is responsible;
(b) accord the designated State Land Agency sufficient autonomy and
independence to perform its functions effectively and fairly but
accountable to the tax payers;
(c) ensure the State Land Agency is responsive to the needs of its
customers, is service oriented and is adequately staffed with skilled and
competent personnel;
(d) Encourage private sector institutions to continuously monitor and
evaluate the performance of the Land State Agency;
(e) Ensure that all land offices throughout the country are under the
technical direction of the State Land Agency.
(iii) establish regional land offices appropriately located to deliver land services
until such a time when each district can have a fully fledged district land
office;
(iv) privatize a limited number of land rights delivery services under guidelines
established by the semi-autonomous State Land Agency;
(v) retain, at the centre, the power of standards setting and supervision in respect
of the performance of all land delivery services;
(vi) retain dispute processing functions in communities and decentralized state
institutions established under the Land Act.
4.4 LAND RIGHTS DEMARCATION, SURVEY AND MAPPING
104. In Uganda, performance of land rights demarcation, survey, and mapping functions
has been impeded by a variety of factors, chief amongst which is shortage of
qualified personnel, administrative bottlenecks in the preparation and approval of
deed plans. There is a public outcry on the exorbitant cost of privatized survey
services, despite efforts by academic institutions to increase the number of
qualified professionals at the Entebbe School of Survey and Land Management
and Makerere University. The deployment and regulation of the profession of
surveying through the Surveyors Registration Board, is currently non-effective due
to proliferation by un-qualified practitioners. The absence of survey equipment
limits the infrastructure for effectively supporting surveying functions within
government and amongst private services providers. The destruction of survey
points and loss of coordinates often fuelled land conflicts and disputes. Under
customary tenure, it is necessary to recognize traditional boundary-marking
systems and to sensitize communities on the advantages of land rights
adjudication, systematic demarcation and surveying.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 37
Policy Statement
105. Government shall enhance and update the capacity for land rights
adjudication, demarcation, survey, and mapping services.
Strategies
106. To review and update the legal and regulatory framework on demarcation,
surveying and mapping, Government will take measures to;
(i) amend and reform the Survey Act for improved regulation of surveys;
(ii) amend existing laws to allow for the use of modern technology
(iii) review the Surveyors Registration Act to harmonize it with the Survey Act
and to allow the legal registration and operation of surveyors holding
diplomas;
(iv) review and re-focus the Surveyors Registration Board to effectively regulate
the profession of land surveying, mapping and registration;
(v) recognize and confer official status to community- based boundary-marking
systems in all tenure systems;
(vi) regulate the cost of surveys and mapping to facilitate registration of land
under all tenure systems.
107. To enhance training, deployment and regulation of demarcation, surveys and
mapping, Government will take measures to:
(i) provide facilities for the training of land rights adjudication, demarcation,
survey, and mapping personnel by public or private sector agencies;
(ii) privatize cadastral surveys, engineering and typographical surveying subject
to strict standard-setting and public regulation;
(iii) put in place mechanisms for maintenance of survey points and subsidize the
costs of block surveys;
(iv) retain as the basic framework for surveys and mapping, geodetic surveys,
hydrographic surveys and base mapping as public functions;
(v) sensitize the communities and incorporate traditional institutions on the
functions of surveys and mapping.
4.5 LAND INFORMATION SYSTEM
108. 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. Absence of technological infrastructure (including
equipment) to guarantee access to accurate land information is one of the problems
haunting land information management in Uganda. Land information is mostly
held in paper form, manually managed, and not optimally utilized. Additionally,
such information system needs to be operated with due regard to social, cultural,
and intellectual property considerations.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 38
Policy Statement
109. The Government shall establish and maintain a reliable and user-friendly
Land Information System (LIS) as a public good for planning and national
development.
Strategies
110. To establish and maintain a functional Land Information System, Government will
take measures to:
(i) develop data standards for geo-information comprising among others, feature
definitions, data content, spatial referencing, and accuracy;
(ii) prepare and implement national guidelines, to improve the quality and
quantity of land information;
(iii) enact and amend all relevant laws to enable application of modern
technology;
(iv) procure technological infrastructure needed for the establishment of a
decentralized system;
(v) establish, rehabilitate, re-organize, upgrade, authenticate, and digitize
existing land records in readiness for the establishment of a computerized
land information system;
(vi) computerize and update existing land records to support the Land
information System; and
(vii) decentralize and present the proposed land information system in a language
understood by community-level land managers and users.
4.6 LAND DISPUTES RESOLUTION
111. The land dispute management system does not recognize the inherent differences
between disputes over land held under customary tenure and those held under other
tenure regimes. There is no specific recognition given to indigenous mechanisms
for dispute processing or customary law as a normative framework for the
processing of disputes under customary tenure. The Land Act (Cap 227)
established an elaborate structure of land tribunals, whose operations have since
been suspended by the Judiciary, citing limited resources and duplication of
services with Magistrates Courts. Overlaps in dispute resolution institutions have
resulted into fora shopping by aggrieved parties, without a clear hierarchy. Access
to timely, efficient and affordable dispute resolution mechanisms for efficient land
markets, tenure security and investment stability in the land sector is imperative to
realizing the vision and objectives of this policy.
Policy Statements
112. (a) Land Tribunals will be reinstated, properly resourced and facilitated
to enable them carry out their constitutional mandate;
(b) The State shall establish a special division in the High Court and
Magistrates Court to handle land disputes for the development of a
consistent property jurisprudence for Uganda;
(c) Land disputes resolution mechanisms will be reformed to facilitate
speedy and affordable resolution of land disputes.
Strategies:
113. Legislative and other measures will be taken to:
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 39
(i) ensure the operations of Land Tribunals are devoid of complex jurisdiction
and litigation procedures usually associated with ordinary courts of law;
(ii) Land Tribunals, shall in their judicial functions, be supervised by the Chief
Justice or the Judicial Service Commission;
(iii) 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;
(iv) accord precedence to indigenous principles and practice in dispute
management institutions in respect of disputes over land held under
customary land tenure;
(v) empower customary/traditional institutions keep proper written records of all
cases of dispute decided under their jurisdiction;
(vi) define a clear hierarchy for dispute resolution structures to guarantee the
finality and authoritativeness of decisions, subject to appeal to higher levels
of jurisdiction;
(vii) 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;
(viii) encourage and build capacity for alternative dispute resolution on land
matters and application of principles of natural justice.
4.7 REVENUE GENERATION AND FISCAL FUNCTIONS
114. 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
115. The Government shall develop the capacity of land sector institutions for
effective revenue generation and fiscal management.
Strategies
116. Government will take measures to:
(i) review land taxation laws and create other avenues for revenue generation in
the land sector;
(ii) monitor performance of institutions charged with the collection of revenue
generated from land sector operations to avoid pilferage and wastage;
(iii) enhance the capacity of local and community governance institutions to raise
and utilize revenue from land sector operations,
(iv) control levies on land transactions in urban and rural areas through
guidelines administered by local governments;
(v) 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.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 40
CHAPTER 5: LAND USE AND LAND MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
5.1 INTRODUCTION
117. Uganda is faced with challenges in the land use and land management institutional
framework, that lie in many and different bureaucracies, resulting in inadequate
land use planning and non-enforcement of land use regulations. Being cognizant of
the recently approved National Land Use Policy, it is necessary to have as a feature
of national land policy, land development in addition to legislating over land
ownership. This will serve as a way of enhancing the role of the land sector and
improving its leverage in efforts aimed at poverty reduction, the promotion of
governance and social justice, political accountability and democratic governance.
Sustainable Land use and management will also reduce conflict and ecological
stress and help to facilitate modernization of Uganda’s economy as a whole.
5.2 THE LAND SECTOR IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
5.2.1 Land Ownership and Land Development
118. Since 1900 to-date, almost all legislation on land in Uganda has focused on
ownership-cum-property rights. It is necessary to have land development aligned
with property rights as a springboard for optimal land use and sustainable land
development. This implies the integration of land ownership with land use
regulation, supporting efforts aimed at transformation of land users with greater
emphasis on urbanization, attaining food security using land and orientation to
commercial agriculture for an estimated 31% of peasants, who live on less than
one dollar per day.
Policy Statement
119. Government shall facilitate land use regulation and land development, to
enhance economic productivity and commercial competitiveness, for wealth
creation and overall socio-economic development.
Strategies
120. To ensure simultaneous land development and land ownership, Government will
be put in place measures to:
(i) fully integrate the land sector into the overall national development planning
framework.
(ii) reform the land ownership rights and interests as the starting point before
proceeding to land development aspects;
(iii) Facilitate central government agencies and local governments to adopt and
enforce standardized land use planning and land development practices for orderly
development;
(iv) Strengthen community level institutions for effective management of land
development and land use regulation;
(v) apply land use planning and fiscal instruments to ensure land use and land
development.
121. Government will take additional measures to:
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 41
(i) 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;
(ii) design appropriate public policies and incentives to deal with labour and credit for
agricultural productivity;
(iii) have periodic audit of land needs every 10 years to ensure that the livelihoods of the
citizens of Uganda are not compromised;
(iv) enhance access to land for large-scale commercial investments without prejudicing
security of tenure for the Citizens of Uganda;
(v) manage rapid population growth to relieve pressure off land resources;
(vi) ensure that poor communities are protected from activities which deny them access to land
resources and the infrastructure necessary for productive use’.
5.2.2 Integration of the land sector with other productive sectors
122. Land is an important determinant of the health and vitality of sectors and subsectors
which depend on it for productivity. Among these are agriculture,
livestock, energy, minerals, water, wildlife, forestry, and human settlements. As a
basic cross-sectoral resource, it plays a vital role by providing leverage for other
sectors’ efforts. However, it lacks efficient and effective cross-sectoral
institutionalization as well as integration into the overall macro level planning.
Furthermore, there is a need to identify and articulate effective linkages with other
productive sectors in order to ensure increase contribution to economic growth,
commercial competitiveness and development.
Policy Statements
123. (a) Government will undertake policy reforms to ensure that the land
sector facilitates growth in other productive sectors and makes an
effective contribution to national development;
(b) Land in Uganda will be managed as a basic resource, through effective
cross-sectoral institutional arrangements.
Strategies
124. To address the integration of the land sector with other productive sectors,
Government will put in place measures to ensure that:
(i) detailed sectoral and sub-sectoral policies and management systems
operationalized are consistent with the provisions of the national land policy;
(ii) central Government and local governments provide the land resources
required for development in all productive sectors of the economy;
(iii) developments in productive sectors do not lead to the deterioration of the
quality of land resources;
(iv) continued review of performance of land and other related productive sectors
monitors the mutual contribution to and impact on each other; and taking
into consideration local, regional and global changes with regard to natural
resource management;
(v) sufficient resources for the development and management of the land sector
and all related productive sub-sectors are constantly available;
(vi) civic education, motivation of stakeholders and professionalism in land
management and administration are undertaken for successful integration of
the land sector with other sectors.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 42
5.2.3 Optimal and Sustainable Use and Management of Land resources
125. An important strategic objective of the land sector is that land resources must be
put to optimal, productive and sustainable management and use. Currently, 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. These critical overlaps in
institutional responsibilities, symbolize a framework that does not promote
sustainable land development and insufficient collaboration among public sector
institutions and agencies thus an obstacle to rational, effective and efficient
management of land resources.
Policy Statement
126. (a) Government shall ensure that land resources are used and managed
in an integrated and sustainable manner;
(b) Government shall design and implement a comprehensive framework
for proper stewardship of land resources.
Strategies
127. To address the challenges of optimal and sustainable use and management of land
resources, Government will take measures to:
(i) develop and enforce adequate land use standards
(ii) provide capacity, through training, to enable land management agents to
function efficiently;
(iii) deploy professional land auditors at local and community government levels
to monitor and enforce the implementation of land use standards;
(iv) set up and operationalize an effective forum for inter-sectoral consultation
and co-ordination of land sector activities;
(v) Strengthen and reform institutions for effective and efficient land use and
land management; and
(vi) review policies related to all land-use sub-sectors to ensure complementarity
with the national land policy.
5.3 LAND USE PLANNING AND REGULATION
128. Physical planning is an important tool in the management of land under any tenure
that 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. 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 urban and 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. An enormous gap exists
between land use plan preparations, implementation and enforcement of land use
regulations. In addition, there is lack of a framework to handle land use conflicts.
Policy Statement
129. (a) Government shall ensure that land is planned, used and managed
sustainably for the benefit of the present and future generations;
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 43
(b) Government shall review and re-establish the framework for land use
planning and regulation.
Strategies
130. Through legislation and other regulatory measures, Government will:
(i) declare the entire country a Physical Planning Area for effective land use
management;
(ii) enforce compliance with land use regulations, standards and guidelines in
urban and rural areas;
(iii) integrate physical infrastructure planning (i.e. roads, transportation, and
service lines) into overall national and regional physical development
planning schemes;
(iv) provide guidelines on zoning, subdivision, housing design and standards,
provision of socio-economic and physical infrastructure services;
(v) review all relevant legislation on land use planning and regulation to ensure
that they are in tandem with the National Land Policy.
131. Government will take additional measures to:
(i) review and strengthen the framework for land use planning and development
control;
(ii) 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;
(iii) prepare regional physical development plans;
(iv) design a framework and provide capacity for land use audits in rural and
urban areas to support national, regional and local land use planning;
(v) maintain an inventory of land availability and suitability for specific users, as
part of the national land information system;
(vi) monitor growth of rural settlements with a view to providing infrastructure
and services;
(vii) continuously monitor and evaluate the effects of public regulation on land
sector development;
(viii) integrate all urban economic activities, including urban agriculture and
forestry, into overall urban development planning;
(ix) educate the public on the overall goals and advantages of public regulation of
land use;
(x) Enact a law to provide a framework for metropolitan planning.
5.4 LAND QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY ASSURANCE
132. Reversing the trend of deterioration and degradation of land and its resources
through measures and strategies for land quality assurance is one of the major
needs of the land sector. Inefficient technologies of production, inappropriate land
use and management practices have lead to severe soil degradation, wastage and
pollution of land and water resources. Desertification due to climate change effects
and the lack of adequate support services for agriculture has affected productivity
management for food security or surplus production for income generation and
export earnings. Besides, population growth and the demand for land have resulted
in excessive fragmentation of land into uneconomic sub-units.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 44
Policy Statement
133. The Government shall institutionalize mechanisms to restore, maintain and
monitor the quality and productivity of land resources.
Strategies
134. To enhance the land quality and productivity assurance, Government will put in
place measures to:
(i) restore and maintain the quality of land resources to enhance the
proprietary value of land resources;
(ii) ensure sound land use practices and appropriate conservation
measures for land quality and land-based resources;
(iii) Initiate programs for rehabilitation of degraded lands through
design and implementation of prevention and management measures;
(iv) develop and implement programs for the delivery of communitybased
land management extension services
(v) promote individual and community participation in environmental
action by providing socio-economic and other incentives to induce
sustainable land use and management practices;
(vi) introduce appropriate and affordable technologies of production,
including the possibility of irrigation development in arid and semi-arid
areas;
(vii) develop guidelines to:
(a) control land fragmentation by setting minimum acreage to be
subdivided,
(b) control of soil degradation and industrial waste disposal,
(c) encourage settlement in urban areas to ensure that population growth is
commensurate with available resources;
(d) regulate sub-division of land in urban and rural areas for optimality in
use, taking account of ecological and specific use factors;
(e) facilitate consolidation and re-adjustment of land parcels for optimal
use.
5.5 NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
135. 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. These are
depleted or degraded through indiscriminate excisions, unregulated harvesting, and
encroachment for promotions of politically-motivated investment. 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. Implementation of existing policies and legislation that do exist is
made difficult by bureaucratic bottlenecks that impede efficient decision-making in
the land sector.
136. Management of protected areas is largely in the hands of Government, whose
policies have resulted in land use changes in protected areas, especially forests,
wetlands and wildlife reserves. Conflicting land uses and inadequate enforcement
of natural resource management regulations has continued to receive little
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 45
attention. Policy and legal mechanisms for wildlife conservation outside protected
areas are absent just as mechanisms for resolving human/wildlife conflicts. Criteria
for setting aside land for conservation are not well-known or established.
Furthermore, there is increasing political interference with the implementation of
environmental laws, particularly the National Environment Act (Cap. 153), the
National Forestry and Tree Planting Act, 2003 and regulations.
Policy Statements
137. (a) Government shall ensure that natural resources are used and
managed sustainably for the benefit of the present and future
generations;
(b) Government shall take measures to restore, maintain and enhance the
integrity of natural resources;
(c) Government shall enhance the effectiveness of the framework for
environmental management;
(d) Government shall ensure that all land use practices conform to land
use plans and the principles of sound environmental management,
including biodiversity preservation, soil and water protection,
conservation, and sustainable land management.
Strategies
138. Government will develop an appropriate a legal framework and institutional
framework to:
(i) develop and promote a scheme of incentives for participation of
communities and other stakeholders in the devolved management of natural
resources;
(ii) mobilize communities and assist them to develop and implement action
strategies for effective enforcement of established environmental and
natural resource management standards;
(iii) for benefit-sharing between land resource management institutions and
authorities, and contiguous local communities;
(iv) strengthen the enforcement mechanisms of natural resource regulations;
(v) strengthen environmental planning, regulation, enforcement and
monitoring;
(vi) provide incentives and rewards that encourage maintenance and protection
of natural resources on privately-owned land.
139. Government will take measures to:
(i) design appropriate environmental standards for all production sectors;
(ii) develop programs for the restoration of waste disposal sites, polluted
watercourses, and control of land use-related green house gas emissions;
(iii) provide special protection for fragile ecosystem, including unique and
sensitive biodiversity colonies, like hill tops, wetlands, water catchment
areas, lake-shores and river banks;
(iv) eliminate the alienation of wetlands and compensate all land owners whose
land stretches into wetlands;
(v) carry out public education on sustainable use and management of natural
resource and the environment;
140. Government will take additional measures to:
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(i) develop a harmonized criteria for gazetting and de-gazetting of
conservation areas, considering the following:
(a) reason for which an area was gazetted no longer exists,
(b) de-gazette to address historical or colonial imbalances,
(c) a technical evaluation recommends change of land use;
(ii) establish and implement an effective mechanism for the
management of wildlife outside protected areas;
(iii) create incentives for community participation in conservation on
privately-owned land and in co-management of conservation on public land;
(iv) recover, demarcate and provide guidelines to regulate use of hilltops
and other sensitive eco-systems;
(v) develop mechanisms to resolve human-wildlife conflict.
5.6 HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
141. Human settlements development is inhibited by inadequate physical planning
coupled with rapid and haphazard development. Rapid population growth and
urbanization is taking place in the absence of an urbanization policy and human
settlement policy. Urban settlements are particularly associated with informal
settlements, inadequate shelter, lack of infrastructure and basic services, urban
sprawl, infringement on prime agricultural land environmentally-sensitive areas
such as wetlands, hilltops, and lake shores. Estate development in human
settlements, specifically in urban and peri-urban areas, where the services of real
estate agents are abetting urban sprawl is not regulated. Land tenure regimes that
allow for multiple and conflicting rights and interests over the same piece of land
impede housing investments. Planned rural settlements are necessary for costeffective
location and provision of services.
Policy Statement
142. Government shall formulate a National Human Settlement Policy and
National Urban Policy for comprehensive orderly planning and sustainable
development.
Strategies:
143. To support human settlements development, Government will take measures to:
(i) develop a comprehensive National Human Settlement Policy
(ii) develop a National Urban Policy
(iii) ensure that land for human settlement is properly planned and social services
allocated equitably;
(iv) facilitate consolidation and re-adjustment of land parcels for optimal use;
(v) strengthen urban and rural land use planning processes to prevent land
wastage or sub-optional uses;
(vi) regulate sub-division of land in urban and rural areas;
(vii) ensure strict enforcement of land use regulations especially in urban and
peri-urban areas;
(viii) create incentives to attract people to live in urban or nucleated settlements to
free land for development;
(ix) put in place appropriate legal framework to facilitate and regulate urban
agriculture;
(x) Harmonise relevant subsector policies.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 47
5.7 AGRICULTURE
144. Uganda does not have an agriculture policy. Agricultural production is mainly by
small-holder producers. Poor agricultural practices have resulted into increased
land degradation due to 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 agricultural land to its most optimal and sustainable use.
Agricultural zones of production excellence based on production potential and
existing comparative advantages, is self-evident are not demarcated. Overpopulation
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 for
women farmers.
Policy Statement
145. Government shall regulate the use of land and water resources for
agricultural production aligned with a National Agriculture Policy.
Strategies
146. Measures will be taken to:
(i) develop a comprehensive National Agriculture Policy;
(ii) promote and ensure viable zonal agricultural production to enhance
production, productivity, marketing and agro-processing;
(iii) make available an updated soil and arable land resource inventory at an
appropriate scale
(iv) promote farming practices that reduce land degradation and enhance soil
quality and productivity;
(v) encourage voluntary consolidation of agricultural land holdings to sizes
suitable for optimum, productive and sustainable use;
(vi) plan, use and regulate agricultural activities and other practices that degrade
the quality of agricultural land;
(vii) discourage land fragmentation through education, incentives, laws and byelaws;
(viii) promote sustainable use and management of water, soil and land resources;
(ix) develop a National Soils Policy.
5.8 CLIMATE CHANGE
147. 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. The
issues of greatest concern include deforestation, wetland degradation, land
degradation and poor settlements planning. Uganda is already suffering from the
impacts of climate change and variability, which hampers the realization of
development goals. Increasingly adaptation to the impact of climate change is a
challenge, as environmental degradation and disasters cause their victims to
migrate in search of better conditions. The country’s social and economic
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 48
development and people’s livelihoods for now and in the foreseeable future,
depends almost entirely on sound management and sustainable utilization of the
natural resource base.
Policy Statements:
148. (a) Government shall, in its plans and programs to mitigate and adapt to
the impacts of climate change, mainstream sustainable management of
the environment and natural resources;
(b) Government shall put in place strategies to reduce and mitigate climate
change and variability;
(c) Government shall put in place climatic change adaptation strategies to
reduce impact on climate change on the people and the economy;
(d) Government will develop a framework for compliance with all
international commitments on management of climate change.
Strategies
149. To address the challenges of climate change, Government will take measures to:
(i) regulate anthropogenic activities which generate greenhouse gas emissions
such as the burning of forest fires, and destructive agricultural practices;
(ii) enhance participation in initiatives for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions
worldwide;
(iii) mitigate the destruction of forests, water bodies, and other phenomena which
act as sinks for green house gasses;
(iv) strengthen the adaptive capacity to climate change and promote climate
change adaptation mechanisms;
(v) promote efficient use of new and renewable resources and, in particular, the
exploitation and regeneration of renewable sources of energy;
(vi) build capacity for rapid response to and management of extreme events
arising from variability in climate parameters;
(vii) encourage and facilitate of the operations of civil society networks concerned
with ecosystem protection and preservation;
(viii) provide for re-settlement of environmental refugees and initiate co-operation
responses with neighboring countries on issues to do with Kyoto Protocol
and related issues, including adaptation to climate change;
(ix) strengthen environmental governance and ensure sound management of
natural resources.
5.9 INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR MANAGEMENT OF LANDBASED
RESOURCES
150. 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. Without
comprehensive reform of the institutional and administrative framework, currently
in force, which has grown in response to various political and economic concerns,
the management of land resources will remain internally-fragmented, conflictual
and highly centralized.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 49
Policy Statement
151. Government shall establish a harmonized and integrated institutional
framework for efficient use, appropriate stewardship and effective
management of land based natural resources.
Strategies
152. To guarantee an institutional framework for efficient management of land-based
resources, Government will take measures to:
(i) refine and clarify the mandates of different agencies charged with
management of land-based resources to remove overlaps, gaps and conflicts;
(ii) develop and enforce adequate land use standards for the management and
development of land based resources;
(iii) review policies in all land-related sectors (and sub-sectors) to ensure
complementarity as well as compliance with the national land policy;
(iv) deploy professional land auditors at local and community government levels,
to monitor and enforce the implementation of land use standards;
(v) install and operationalize an effective forum for inter-sectoral consultation
and co-ordination of land use activities;
(vi) create land management structures that are efficient, cost-effective and
democratically-operated in a decentralization policy framework;
(vii) design and enforce precautionary but achievable performance standards for
land management;
(viii) develop capacity and an enabling infrastructure for evolution and
implementation of sustainable land use practices and land management.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 50
CHAPTER 6: REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL FRAMEWORK
6.1 INTRODUCTION
153. 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, shared aquatic, terrestrial and other trans-boundary resources. These
instruments establish the international framework for governance of land-based
resources and provide principles for partner States to implement. As Uganda
develops closer political linkages with the East African Community, a number of
domestic law principles will be revisited for re-alignment, especially access to
land, which is not merely linked to territorial sovereignty, but specifically to
citizenship.
154. Internationally and regionally, various instruments direct attention to the need to:
(i) guarantee national food security,
(ii) reduce extreme poverty and hunger;
(iii) manage global climate change through domestic economic policies and
strategies;
(iv) conserve biodiversity and the environment;
(v) resolve resource conflicts arising from trans-boundary movements of
population and animal species;
(vi) ensure gender equality and equity;
(vii) protect the human right to adequate housing and other related human rights;
(viii) prevent forced evictions and guarantee security of tenure.
6.2 REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS AND
OBLIGATIONS
155. Compliance with or implementation of regional and international instruments and/
or obligations, within domestic policy and law, requires the consideration of a
number principles and standards, which are part of international law. Foremost,
free assent to instruments creating such obligations, should neither be oppressive
nor burdensome, but confer benefits in excess of the costs of compliance. In
addition, compliance is considered a prudent investment for economic growth and
the expansion of opportunities for Ugandan Citizens. Lastly, compliance is attained
at a pace matching the on-going social, economic and political processes and does
not introduce radical changes in domestic institutions and structures, that are
disruptive to long- term development policies and plans.
Policy Statement
156. Government will, in the implementation of obligations in international and
regional instruments, comply with areas of convergence in land policy and
strive to re-align on divergent areas in land policy.
Strategies
157. Government will take measures to:
(i) define areas of convergence in land policy, for compliance and
implementation, excluding those that are repugnant to Uganda’s legislation;
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 51
(ii) acknowledge the areas of divergence in land policy, for possible policy
and legislative re-alignment;
(iii) domesticate regional and international instruments relevant to the land
policy to comply with international principles and standards;
(iv) monitor the level of implementation of all conventions to which Uganda is
signatory.
6.3 CONVERGENCE ON LAND POLICY AND LEGISLATION
158. Regional and international co-operation on land and land-based resources requires
Uganda to achieve convergence with its neighbors on important land sector issues.
These include policy and legislative development, governance of trans-boundary
and shared resources, management of population movements, and climate change
prevention, mitigation and adaptation strategies. 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
decentralization or devolution of land rights administration and management
functions.
Policy Statement
159. (a) Government shall take steps towards regional harmonization of land
to align policy and legislation on land with the East Africa region, the
Great Lakes Region and the African Union;
(b) In pursuit of the goal of a common market within the East African
Community, Government shall take steps to harmonise policies, laws,
regulations and practices on land and land-based resources.
Strategies
160. In order to achieve the above commitments, the Government of Uganda will:
(i) carry out a comprehensive inventory of areas of convergence to establish a
baseline for regional co-operation.
(ii) draw on the enormous literature that has been built up through research on
the shared resources of the region;
(iii) draw on efforts by the African Union to formulate common land policy
guidelines for its members countries;
(iv) initiate debate on the design and content of land policy guidelines for the
East African region;
(v) promote negotiations for the re-establishment of institutions for the
management of common services and resources for the East African region;
(vi) explore the possibility of joint exploitation of and investments in transboundary
resources.
161. Preliminary steps will be taken to:
(i) progressively achieve compliance on areas of legislative divergence relevant
to Uganda’s situation;
(ii) remove all legislative barriers inhibiting access to land by citizens of the
Partner States;
(iii) standardize regulatory mechanisms in the land sector, taking account of the
environmental implications of such regulation;
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 52
(iv) support regional and continental initiatives for the harmonization of land
policies and laws.
6.4 MANAGEMENT OF TRANS-BOUNDARY RESOURCES
162. 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
eco-systems of social and economic importance without structured systems for
harmonious of 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.
Policy Statement
163. 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.
Strategies
164. Government will take measures to:
(i) design and implement a system for the monitoring of the effects of transboundary
movement of migratory species on the environment;
(ii) negotiate and implement protocols for integrated management and protection
of migratory species and related ecosystems such as water bodies,
mountains, forests and wetland;
(iii) undertake voluntary abatement measures in respect of anthropogenic
activities which would upset the ecology of Lake Victoria and the Nile
Basin;
(iv) negotiate mechanisms for coordination and benefit-sharing of the resources
of Lake Victoria and Nile Basin;
(v) design mechanisms for monitoring all trans-boundary resources with Partner
States.
6.5 CROSS-BORDER POPULATION MOVEMENTS
165. 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.
Policy Statement
166. Government will develop a framework to regulate, manage and mitigate the
negative consequences and maximize the positive impacts of cross-border
population movements.
Strategies
167. To regulate, manage and mitigate cross-border movements, Government will:
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 53
(i) respect regional and international conventions governing the settlement and
treatment of refugees and internally displaced persons;
(ii) negotiate protocols for the reciprocal treatment and settlement of mass
cross-border movements;
(iii) jointly implement with neighboring countries, measures for effective border
management, control and supervision.
6.6 INTER-STATE BORDER DISPUTES AND CONFLICTS
168. Currently, territorial–border conflicts, manifest as land conflicts between
communities in Uganda and its neighbors. Overtime, almost all international
border markers and identifiers, including control pillars for the entire Ugandan
territory, have been vandalized. No demarcation exercise has been undertaken to
affirm the status of some border points and markers of Uganda territory, since the
colonial period. At present, it is an international requirement for neighboring
countries to demarcate and sign border agreements to avert future disagreements
on the true positions of their borders. African countries are expected to deposit upto-
date border agreements with the UN, African Union and East African
Community by 2012, as part of a broader framework to ensure harmony, territorial
integrity, and completeness.
Policy Statement
169. Government shall re-establish and demarcate as appropriate, the entire
national borders of the State of Uganda, in agreement with neighboring
States.
Strategies
170. For the protection of nationals and completeness of Uganda as a sovereign State,
Government will take urgent measures to:
(i) carry out joint international border demarcation surveys with all neighboring
countries;
(ii) sign border agreements with all its neighbors and deposit them with the
East Africa Community and Africa Union by 2012, the deadline for the
demarcation.
(iii) regularly inspect and maintain border demarcation points, including pillars
and other identification marks;
(iv) sensitize border communities on the importance of international border
demarcations;
(v) amend the Survey Act to incorporate penalties for those involved in
vandalism of all survey marks, pillars and other identification marks.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 54
CHAPTER 7: FRAMEWORK FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NATIONAL
LAND POLICY
7.1 INTRODUCTION
171. It is important to emphasize that once formulated and approved as the framework
for development and use of land and land-based resources in Uganda, the National
Land Policy must be implemented. Implementation involves the conversion of the
policy principles, statements and strategies into a comprehensive program of land
reform. Lessons from elsewhere in Africa show that policy must be internalized
and its values consolidated, otherwise, the transition of land policy documents to
guidelines or legislation often fails. The cost both in socio-economic and political
terms of inaction and delay in implementation is the greatest of all challenges.
7.2 COSTING IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LAND POLICY
172. 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 implementation. Such costing must be
seen not merely as expenditure, but more importantly as investment in a program
expected to re-vitalize the land sector for immeasurable economic and social
benefits.
Policy Statement
173. Government shall cost and fund the land reform process in Uganda, pursuant
to approval by Cabinet of this National Land Policy.
Strategies
174. To cost and fund the land reform process in Uganda, Government shall:
(i) develop cost estimates for all activities or programs anticipated by the
policy; prioritize and sequence them;
(ii) make inventory of existing resource capacity in the land sector to determine
usability and level of short-fall in the implementation of the policy;
(iii) assess the capacity of existing systems and structures in place, to kick-start
land policy implementation, as new structures are being set up;
(iv) assess the relevancy, appropriateness, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the
proposed institutional structures; including audit of existing and proposed
new structures to eliminate wastage due to duplication, overlaps and
unproductive competition among various decision-making centers;
(v) identify institutional and governance structures needed to implement the
reforms;
(vi) ensure that the cost of implementation of the policy is fully-budgeted and
funded, as part of the national development framework and land sector
reform;
7.3 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR THE NATIONAL LAND POLICY
175. A critical challenge in land policy implementation involves the programming of its
various components. This entails the design of appropriate legislation, set up of the
institutional requirements and preparation of a program of activities based on the
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 55
strategies, sequencing and prioritization of program components for
implementation, and indicators for measuring program implementation effects.
Programming must be preceded by the widest possible consultation within
government, the legislature, local authorities and community structures. Close cooperation
with key ministries and agencies in sectors involved in land use and
natural resources/environment management, civil society operating on the basis of
their own independent calendars is imperative.
Policy Statement
176. Government shall undertake the preparation of a detailed Action Plan for
Implementation of the National Land Policy upon approval by the Cabinet.
Strategies
177. To ensure implementation of the National Land Policy, Government shall:
(i) put in place a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary committee to lead the
implementation process;
(ii) establish a Land Policy Implementation Unit, to spearhead the
implementation with specialized staff/personnel and a set budget;
(iii) propose a time-table for review of existing legislation and institutional
arrangements in accordance with the provisions of the national land policy;
(iv) design and strengthen structures for co-ordination of implementation
between land related sectors and other socio-economic sectors;
(v) accord priority to the implementation of program components that are key to
the revitalization of the land sector;
(vi) define the roles of the ministry responsible for lands and other actors,
including development partners and non-state actors such as private sector
and civil society;
(vii) recruit personnel to the Policy Implementation Unit under suitable terms that
are attractive to result –oriented performance and management.
178. Specific tasks of the National Land Policy Implementation Unit will include,
among others:
(i) facilitating the drafting of all legislation necessary to implement this national
policy;
(ii) establishment and reform of relevant institutions for the implementation of
the National Land Policy;
(iii) mobilizing financial and other resources for effective and efficient funding of
the land policy implementation process;
(iv) recruitment and training of required professionals and personnel in the
implementation of this National Land Policy;
(v) organizing of civic education and public awareness creation for stakeholder
participation and understanding.
7.4 PUBLIC EDUCATION AND DISSEMINATION OF THE LAND POLICY
179. The process of developing the National Land Policy has involved a broad spectrum
of land sector stakeholders. However, there will be need to undertake a broad
program of education and awareness on the content of the approved policy in order
to be fully- understood by all stakeholders.
Policy Statement
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 56
180. Government shall disseminate the National Land Policy after Cabinet
approval.
Strategies
181. To achieve an operational level of awareness for the National Land Policy,
Government will take action to:
(i) translate the final version of the policy into major languages;
(ii) prepare materials for civic and public education;
(iii) train and build capacity of local and community leaders’ understanding of
the policy;
(iv) disseminate the National Land Policy to all stakeholders;
(v) ensure continued public debate and discourse on land issues, self-assessment
and feed-back on the land policy framework
7.5 STAKEHOLDER PARTICIPATION
182. Successful implementation of the national land policy will depend on continuing
buy-in, support and confidence of stakeholders. Stakeholders must participate and
be constructively engaged at all levels of policy implementation. These include
different government departments, development partners, private sector, civil
society organizations, professional bodies, cultural institution, faith-based
organizations and other non-state actors.
Policy Statement
183. Government shall involve all stakeholders, as partners in implementation of
the National Land Policy for continuous legitimacy.
Strategies
184. In order to ensure that stakeholders are fully involved in land policy
implementation, Government will put in place measures to ensure:
(i) participation in the preparation and application of the monitoring and
evaluation framework;
(ii) technical and financial support to non-state actors;
(iii) additional contribution of resources from development partners, the private
sector, cultural institutions and civil society;
(iv) a formalized approach towards co-operation and co-ordination with non-state
actors, by signing joint statements of intent, partnership principles or a code
of conduct.
(v) awareness in stakeholder groups and role acceptance;
(vi) alliances and partnerships are built with all stakeholder groups
7.6 REVIEW, MONITORING AND EVALUATION
185. Successful land policy implementation will enable a faster rate of social and
economic transformation. It is important, therefore, that visible mechanisms are
put place to monitor progress and evaluate the effectiveness of the policy
statements and strategies in attaining of the vision and objectives of policy, where
necessary leading in some instances to selective revision of elements of the land
policy. This needs to be based on appropriate and integrated national indicators,
established for the economy in general and the land sector in particular.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 57
Policy Statement
186. The Government shall institutionalize a monitoring, review and evaluation
framework for the implementation of the National Land Policy.
Strategies
187. To institutionalize a monitoring and evaluation system, Government shall:
(i) develop and apply indicators for monitoring and evaluation system;
(ii) develop appropriate tools for policy refinement and review
(iii) integrate land policy values and principles into the political discourse of
Uganda;
(iv) link the Monitoring and Evaluation System to other national level
monitoring processes for the National Development Plan;
(v) define roles and responsibilities of all key stakeholders and players in
monitoring and evaluation.
188. In order to maintain consistency of the National Land Policy with all emerging land
issues in the country, Government will;
(i) undertake periodic reviews of the land sector performance and the policy
by identifying persistent and/or new issues requiring further policy
interventions at least every 5 years;
(ii) review of the National Land Policy at least every ten years;
(iii) review the National Land Policy Implementation Action Plan and strategies
every 3 years or as necessary;
(iv) create awareness on policy prescriptions for all stakeholders of in respect of
issues reviewed.
The Uganda National Land Policy, 2011 ______________________________________________________ 58

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