The Government of Uganda is set to create equality of ownership to land to protect the rights of women in owning and acquiring land.
The revelation was made by lands minister Judith Nabakooba while opening a five-day Regional Workshop for Catholic and non-Catholic actors organized at Kampala Kolping Hotel in Kampala on July 24 to devise means to support advocacy for Women’s Land Rights.
In her remarks, Nabakooba revealed that the government is aware of the challenges women face in accessing and owning land and it is committed to addressing them given its commitment to respecting, promoting and protecting the human rights of women and according them full and equal dignity with men.
“Government has made considerable progress in designing and implementing measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the land sector,” she noted.
She shared that they have legal and policy frameworks undertaken to improve women’s access to and control over land and address gender inequalities prevalent in Ugandan society.
On the International Level, the Minister said Uganda is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Elimination against Discrimination of Women (CEDAW) protected under article 14 of CEDAW, where the government is required to report on the situation of rural women and how steps are being taken to address the prevalence of negative customs and traditional practices that prevent women from inheriting or acquiring ownership of land and other property.
On the regional level, she shared that the government together with other Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states has developed an action plan to address issues of Women’s land rights reciting the implementation of the Kilimanjaro Declaration on actualizing women’s land rights in Africa (2016).
The minister shared that 52 percent of the population in Uganda is female and 48 percent is male but land ownership by females currently stands at only 20 percent.
“The National Resistance Movement Government shall continue investing in the registration of women’s land rights to economically empower them, leading to food security and improved livelihoods,” she pledged.
She lauded the catholic institutions for empowering women in Uganda through the Communal Land Associations where Women’s representation on average stands at 59 percent.
In his remarks, Masaka Diocese bishop Serverus Jjumba who graced the opening ceremony asked all people to embrace this advocacy to create equity in land rights.
“The women are the breadwinners according to our culture. She is expected to produce food to feed the family. If she gets ownership of the land, she will get motivated and work harder,” he said.
Bishop Jjumba added: “We need to work together to advocate for this mentality change and inculcate it in the church teachings, social development, and our culture. We must all embrace this advocacy of equal rights to land ownership.”
Dr. Emmanuel Aliba Kiiza, National Executive Secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, revealed that women are marginalized when it comes to ownership. “The women are somehow marginalized by our culture and they do not inherit land. We are beginning a process here in Uganda to advocate for the rights of ownership of land by women. We shall even cross to other English-speaking countries in West Africa.”