At the peak of displacement in northern Uganda in 2004-2006, there were about 2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), living mainly in protected camps. The problem of IDPs arose because, for the past two decades, northern Uganda has been the scene of wars and insecurity caused by the armed rebellions of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Acholi land sub region, Lango sub region and Teso sub region .The problem was worsened by the activities of armed cattle rustlers from Karamoja leading to massive displacement into either camps or other locations away from the original homes. This scenario left many people to ignore their land while others especially the children could not trace for the boundaries of the land since most of them were born from the camps. This has led to unclear or obscure land boundaries which is one of the key factor responsible for the various cases of land grabbing in the region. Therefor different individuals and institutions (perpetrators of land grabbing) have taken advantage of this situation and these includes: Government, Army officers, Investors- Madhavani, Relatives- In-laws, Brothers, uncles, Politicians, Rich individuals and Neighbors.
Since the Government of Uganda (GoU) and the LRA rebels announced, in 2006, their intentions to negotiate a peaceful end to the 21 year conflict, there has been a gradual improvement in security. This prompted GoU to announce, in 2007 a return and resettlement program for IDPs, and also to develop a rehabilitation and reconstruction framework for northern Uganda - the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP). At the same time, Government has renewed efforts to produce a comprehensive National Land Policy (NLP). The existing Ugandan policy and legal frameworks and laws4 do not adequately cater for land issues pertaining to the return of IDPs. It is, therefore, probable that land issues may become the major cause of disputes and controversy in post conflict northern Uganda, if they are not addressed effectively.
In response to the above concerns, the World Bank, working in consultation with other stakeholders, undertook a Northern Uganda Land Policy and Administration Study in two main phases. The first phase, completed in 2006, included: (a) a literature review of situations and experiences of IDPs in the Great Lakes Region in Africa and other parts of the world, and (b) a limited reconnaissance survey in Soroti District (Teso region) where a relatively short duration of internal displacement, followed by spontaneous return of IDPs, had occurred recently.
1. Basing on the fact that, the National Policy for Internally Displaced Persons(NPIDP and draft NLP), the Uganda Constitution and the Land Act, and land administration institutions do not adequately provide for land issues pertaining to the return of IDPs and they are particularly inadequate in issues pertaining to resettlement, restitution and compensation for IDPs, There is need for suitable working institutional framework to handle restitution (recovery of land), resettlement and compensation issues on IDP land. Although the existing IDP policy mandates local governments to handle restitution but they have neither the resources nor the technical capacity to undertake this and there is no national agency that has the overall responsibility for compensation.
2. Closely related to the above, the Decentralized land administration structures, as laid out in the Land Act, Cap. 227 (Land Act), could have in theory been sufficient to handle post-conflict situations but the entire framework is almost non-functional because of inadequate funding, inadequate human resource capacity, and weak institutions. The district institutions like District Land Board (DLB) and District Land Office (DLO) suffers from underfunding, operational inefficiencies, limited services in urban areas and low demand for services in rural areas. Grassroots institutions, including the...