Uganda: Women Should Have Access to Own Land, Says Alur King

29 December 2020

The Alur King, Phillip Olarker Rauni III has asked communities to avail land to women for commercial purposes and stop unfavourable cultures that deprive them of their rights.

Currently, the king, Phillip Olarker Rauni III, is spearheading a campaign that is aimed at advocating for land rights where women are allowed to own land to improve their livelihoods.

The king said women are trailing in farming due to obstacles such as inadequate access to land, financing, marketing, agricultural training and education, suitable working conditions and equal treatment.

"When female farmers aren't empowered to make decisions about the land she works in, it is absolutely impossible for her to enter contract agreements that could provide higher earnings and reliable sources of income to meet her economic needs," Mr Olarker said at the weekend in Nebbi Town.

In 2015, the Alur king made a pronouncement on the promotion of women's rights on land and designed a modality with ActionAid-Uganda with a strategy to provide awareness of women in agriculture and offer the platform to women to own land.

Ms Angela Akoth, the legal officer at ActionAid, said within the lockdown period from March to October, more than 1,527 cases on women's rights violations were reported to police and community development offices with 57 per cent being land-related violations of women rights to access land.

Mr Akoth said women's participation in commercial agriculture is the untold stories due to cultural practices which bars women to own land for commercial agriculture.

"Even though the land is there, women are not given space to do commercial agriculture but are only subjected to subsistence agriculture for domestic use. This has created more poverty in families yet women toil the whole day in the garden and make sure there is food for the family," Mr Akoth said.

The Anglican Bishop for Nebbi Diocese, Alphonse Wathokudi, says, more than 40 per cent of women are subdued on their rights to own land making it hard for them to actively participate in agriculture and financial borrowing because culturally, women are not integrated to own land in the community.

Bishop Wathokudi advised the cultural leaders to empower women and bridge up the gender bias which only considers men to be the custodians and immediate beneficiaries of lands in the community.

The law

The constitutional right to own land under Article 237(1) of the Constitution clearly states that land belongs to citizens of Uganda and Article 21 prohibits discrimination based on gender and accords men and women the same status and rights. Thus, women are entitled to own land like any other individuals in the society. In addition, Article 33 provides for special help/protection for mothers and women because of traditions or customs that discriminate against them.

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