By Francis Emorut
KAMPALA - The state minister of lands Aidah Nantaba has vowed to address land disputes after the implementation of a national land policy set to be launched this month.
In her latest remarks, she talks of government’s concern that most of the land in Uganda is not registered, but gives strong assurance that the issues will be addressed.
The land policy was approved by ministers early last year and will be launched by President Yoweri Museveni.
She was addressing members of civil society, academia, United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR) official, and government officials during a national policy dialogue held at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
The dialogue was organized by Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) in conjunction with UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality (UNJPDE) aimed at stimulating debate and document challenges with regard to the land question and women’s rights to land in post conflict recovery.
It was held under the theme: “Making post conflict recovery programming work for women: Building the focus on land beyond 2015.”
Nantaba noted that the return of peace in northern Uganda has been accompanied by a significant increase in land-related conflicts which has affected the most vulnerable women and children.
She pointed out that the childless women, disabled and divorced women and women with only female children do not possess land due to some cultural practices, especially in northern Uganda, which bar women from owning land.
The minister condemned such cultural practices, saying this has fueled grabbing of family land.
The chairperson of Uganda Women’s Network, Sheila Kawamara pointed out the need for engagement with all stakeholders to ensure that women land rights are protected.
Rita Aciro, the organization’s executive director, said women in the north have suffered under the men who don’t allow them to own land, a practice she said should be addressed.
The vision of the national land policy is to permit a transformed Uganda society through optimal use and management of land resources for a prosperous and industrialized economy with a developed services sector.
And the objective is to ensure an efficient equitable and optimal utilization and management of Uganda’s land resources for poverty reduction, wealth creation and overall socio-economic development.
The implementation of a land policy will be a process, meaning it will be carried out in phases.
The head of national land policy secretariat commissioner, Naome Kabanda, outlined key priority areas as addressing historical injustices, enhance land rights of women and the vulnerable groups and undertake institutional reforms and others.
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Minister Nantaba vows to settle land disputes