In Uganda, land continues to be a critical factor, as it is the most essential pillar of human existence and national development. Uganda has never had a clearly defined and / or
consolidated National Land Policy since the advent of colonialism in the nineteenth century. This National Land Policy, therefore, consolidates a number of scattered policies,
which exist on various aspects of the land question, but are diverse, sectoral and inconclusive in many respects. Post-independence and recent attempts to settle the land
question by the Land Reform Decree 1975, the 1995 Constitution of Uganda, and the Land Act 1998 failed to deal with the fundamental issues in land tenure due to absence of clear
policy principles to inform the enactment of legislation that offers politically and socially acceptable and technically feasible solutions.
The key policy issues touch on (1) historical injustices and colonial legacies, (2) contemporary issues, mainly arising from such legacies; and (3) land use and land
management issues. The land question has origins in the legacy of colonialism, wherein historical injustices deprived some communities of their ancestral land rights. In addition,
a legal dualism in the property system, a multiplicity of tenure regimes, multiple rights and interests overlapping in the same piece of land were the consequences. This set the scene
for a heritage of evictions, arbitrary dispossession, land disputes and conflicts. Land disputes and conflicts broken across national boundaries, spread to tribal and ethnic
groupings, and merged with current phenomena to generate overwhelming uncertainties in land rights resulting in tenure insecurity. In addition, land rights of vulnerable groups and
land resource-dependent communities are either inadequately protected or poorly enforced. This is all happening in a situation where land dispute resolution mechanisms
have broken down and land justice has become a nightmare to many land holders.
In the current era, Uganda faces the challenges of a rapidly growing population which has put pressure and competition on the scarce land resources. Such an objective would not be
elusive to attain if land management was premised on a policy emphasizing sustainable and optimal use of the land. However, no such policy direction is in place. Thus, land
resources have been chronically under-utilized and inefficiently managed. There is no clear government policy on the management of government land, public land and public
trust natural resources, leading to inefficiency and abuse. Land administration is inadequately resourced, and it is performing very poorly in service delivery. In addition
there are tendencies of corruption and fraud in the system. As performance standards are eroded, the public is slowly losing confidence in the entire land administration system,
which is increasingly becoming dysfunctional.
To address these problems, the Government of Uganda presents this National Land Policy, resulting from a widely consultative and highly interactive process. The vision of the
policy is: “Sustainable and optimal use of land and land-based resources for transformation of Ugandan society and the economy”. The goal of the policy is: “to
ensure efficient, equitable and sustainable utilization and management of Uganda’s land and land-based resources for poverty reduction, wealth creation and overall