In the previous article, I discussed the customary tenure holding patterns. Today, we will look briefly at the various rights, privileges and responsibilities of all the land equation stakeholders.
The legal framework provides the limits for all land ownership issues in Uganda. It offers a fair playing ground for all the rights of all stakeholders. When buying or using land, one should ensure that the rights of the different stakeholders are taken care of and respected.
Disrespect for other stakeholders’ rights causes chaos in the community, and you, as the landowner, will not be able to use your land in peace. Fortunately, the legal framework tries to take care of all these scenarios and one could incur penalties, or even worse, for failure to observe the legal provisions.
Indeed, the media has reported cases of mob justice, violent clashes and other criminal acts in some parts of the country over land transactions that went bad. Like in many parts of the world, land in Busoga is crucial. It is critical for habitation, food, and natural resources. Additionally, it is a core aspect of cultural and social identity and an essential resource for economic growth. As we all know, land is both a generator and a store of wealth.
Understanding land rights
Land tenure rights refer to the rights and responsibilities that individuals and groups have to own, access and use a particular piece of land in line with the local, national and international norms, rules, and principles. For that reason, safeguarding land rights is a crucial cornerstone in any society. Land rights empower landowners to decide how to derive income from their land, whom to pass it to by inheritance, how to partition it, and whom to transfer to, sell to, or bequeath it.
Economic and social rights – including the rights to food, housing, water, health, work and an adequate standard of living are directly affected by land management decisions. In places where land rights are not respected, there are high economic and social rights abuse rates. Social and economic rights and land rights work hand in hand. Social and economic development is evident in societies where land rights are protected and respected. Land rights are one of the building blocks of a stable society. To spur the growth of Busoga, we need to give attention to the protection and respect of the land rights of all concerned stakeholders.
The current legal framework in Uganda safeguards the rights of women and the most vulnerable citizens. It outlines how land can be allocated, transferred, used, or managed.
The Government of Uganda has established a progressive legal framework to regulate land issues in line with national, regional, and international principles; because land use directly impacts communities that are directly dependent on land-based activities through food production. Land issues influence export revenues and industrial output, influencing commodity prices and real income value. Land access and use affect almost everyone. It, therefore, calls for the strict observance of all stakeholders’ rights before any land transaction.
As a potential landowner, you must get acquainted with the issues on the rights of all the stakeholders. For example, orphans, widows, spouses, communities and the Government have all been given specific enforceable rights in the legal framework. So, as you prepare to go into a land transaction, it should be incumbent upon you to consider these stakeholder interests, lest you lose your money or get sucked into a costly court battle. Many people had to spend lots of money and time to remedy problems that could have easily been prevented if they had considered them before going into the transaction.
It is prudent to conduct due diligence on the land you want to buy. You need to know all the interested parties who are laying ownership claims on that land. As a prospective buyer, you should investigate all the claims on the ground and ensure the seller gives proper remedies. Doing so will help you avoid costly litigation battles and loss of money and time. In the following article