Kabale women lack knowledge of land ownership and rights

By APN Reporter


The majority of women in Kabale district are not aware of land
ownership rights and what to do in case their land ownership rights
are infringed on, according to a survey conducted by Kigezi Women in
Development (KWID).

KWID is a nonprofit organization operating in districts of Kigezi
focusing on empowering women, girls, and other vulnerable persons to
exercise their rights and active participation in decision-making
processes among others. Section 38 A of the land Act as amended
indicates that every spouse shall enjoy the security of occupancy on
family land. The security of occupancy prescribed under subsection (1)
means a right to have access to and live on family land. Kabale is one
of the districts in Uganda known for land shortage due to its high
population and hilly terrain.

The executive director of KWID Florence Tumuheirwe, says that the
the story is different on the ground as the majority of women are not
aware of land ownership rights. Tumuheirwe says that in a survey
conducted by KWID in conjunction with Kabale district Local government
officials attached to Lands, probation, and Community Development
office departments as a way of making violent free Kabale, it was
discovered that 15 percent of women in the district are not aware of
land ownership rights.

Tumuheirwe says that the survey which was conducted between December
last year and February this year targeted 200 women, especially in the
sub-counties of Kyanamira and Buhara where there are higher cases of
land wrangles. The interviewed women said that they are only aware
that land belongs to men.

73.5 percent of the interviewed (equivalent to 147) women responded
that they had ever experienced land gender-based violence with their
family members over ownership rights. When asked if they know where to
access justice in case they face land ownership rights challenges,
only three mentioned courts and the majority were not aware of where
to get justice from.

Edismary Musimenta, a 55-year-old resident of Rujanjara village in
Muyimbu parish, Kyanamira sub-county, Agnes Night, a 48-year-old
a resident of Kabisha village also in Kyanamira Sub County and Grace
Kemirembe, a 49-year-old resident of Buhara Sub County narrates that
they have ever experienced land-related wrangles with their families.
They all testified that they are not aware of any policies about land

The Kabale District Senior Community Development Officer Christopher
Namara, says that on a daily basis the office of the district
probation officer registers domestic violence cases involving
relatives moving to grab land from widows. Namara says that due to a
lack of enough funding to carry out enough sensitization about land
rights, they only aim at reconciling the parties that report as well
as referring them to court. He however declined to reveal the amount of money received by
the department.

The Kigezi region police-community liaison officer Enock Hatangimana,
says that the problem originated from an ancient culture of parents
who would not consider a girl child while sharing the land.

He however
says that as authorities they are trying to carry out sensitization to
prove that even women have land ownership rights.