Increased land cases worry Kabale authorities

Increased land cases worry Kabale authorities
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Authorities in Kabale District, have reported an increase in land-related cases reported by women in the district, describing it as a worrying trend that needs immediate attention.

The Kabale Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Andrew Ronald Bakak, says the average number of weekly land-related cases reported by women in his office has increased from at least 15 last year to 21 this year.

“Even this morning by 8:45am, I had registered two cases where women came to complain that their father gave them land moreover in writing, but now as we talk, the siblings are telling them that they are not supposed to have land . The reason being given are  cultural beliefs that in Kigezi land must only be for men. However, for us we believe in the constitution and  there is nowhere it is written that a woman should not inherit land. If we work together, we shall fight this vice,” Bakak says.

He  made the remarks during an advocacy meeting, organized by Local Sustainable Communities Organization (LOSCO), a human rights advocacy organization, in partnership with Uganda Community Based Association for Women and Children's Welfare (UCOBAC) and Stand for Her Land Campaign (S4HL), with the aim of promoting women’s land inheritance rights and property ownership.

Bakak explained that the situation, is affecting the progress of families, since the warring parties, spend most of their time seeking redress from courts and other authorities.

“When we are handling land matters, we get so many challenges and, in most cases, there is a gap in our lower units and corruption. I want to encourage whoever is attending this meeting that we must do something to ensure that woman’s rights about land inheritance upheld. We should desist from corruption because we are failing these ladies to get their rights and even the community to know that they have rights because of corruption,” he added.

The Officer in Charge of Land Desk at Kabale Central Police Station, Samuel Barijunaki, also said the station receives between 8 and 10 land cases, reported by women every week.

" Most of the cases we register are civil in nature and we work hard to ensure that we resolve them as  fast  as possible to ensure that they don't turn criminal," he added

The Kigezi Regional Police Commander, Ibrahim Saiga  blamed most of the cases to limited awareness on land rights most to women, inadequate information on land laws and, limited finances to sensitive the public.

“As we strengthen women rights, let’s be aware that the biggest problem with women is women. The letters of administration also expire but how many people know they expire? How do you pronounce yourself on land for which you don't have the mandate? We need to sensitize the public about the land rights seriously”  Saiga told the meeting.

The executive director for Kigezi women in development, Florence Tumuheirwe said all government established structures should have policies about land translated into local languages.

Recommendations

Former High Court judge, Duncan Ben Sunday, said stakeholders should be sensitive on the land matters as well as the general public should also be sensitive on land agreements, how to make a will, and when a will can be challenged.

He said that families should be encouraged that upon the death of a person with property, they should hold a meeting and applyfor letters of administration for proper sharing of the property

The Uganda Human Rights Commission Investigative Officer for Kabale, Judith Komugisha, said there should be enough awareness on land rights, enforcement of land laws and financial support to local governments to sensitize the public on land laws.

 

 

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