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What is LEMU?

LEMU, the Land Equity Movement of Uganda, is a movement which aims to unite the efforts of everyone with a contribution to offer to make land work for the poor.
This includes the efforts of local people, local Government, local civil society organisations, students, elders, volunteers, and anyone with contribution to make land work for the poor.
LEMU wants to make sure that the right policies, laws and structures are put in place, in order that everyone can have fair access to land and land can be used as profitably as possibly for all. LEMU wants to help local structures working with the poor – local Government and civil society – to support the poor to claim their land rights.
LEMU tries to be a link between government and communities: it brings in knowledge of laws and policies to the communities, and facilitates them to understand rights, roles, responsibilities and changes taking place in land ownership; and it works with other stakeholders to help Government and policy makers understand the issues of people’s land rights to help design solutions and implementation strategies.

What does LEMU believe?

• Poverty is unjust and can be overcome.
• All Ugandans have a role to play in poverty eradication.
• The rights of all to development can only be realised by understanding how laws affect men, women and children in different ways.
• Everyone; women, men and children need and deserve land rights.

Where does LEMU work?

[Working the land] LEMU’s main focus is currently in the north and east of Uganda. Land ownership here is almost entirely under what is called “customary tenure” – local rules. These systems are less well understood than the more ‘international’ system of freehold ownership, so there is a greater problem of policy being formulated and implemented without a good understanding of what is happening on the ground. Additionally, the north of Uganda has been beset by conflict for the past 20 years, and this has caused mass displacement, which adds to land rights vulnerability.

Land and Equity Movement Resources

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5
Policy Papers & Briefs
July 2014

Uganda’s northern region was traditionally inhabited by communities with predominantly pastoral lifestyles. As the country began developing administrative structures in the region, most clans found themselves settled into agro-pastoral communities. The elders found it imperative to demarcate areas of land to fit different uses, with areas for family settlement and cultivation clearly separated from other areas for communal use. Land was either demarcated by the leaders of a particular settlement or by the dominant clan for the benefit of everyone else in that area.

Peer-reviewed publication
January 2013

In northern Uganda, common grazing lands are central to village life. While nominally used for grazing livestock, communities also depend on their grazing lands to collect basic household necessities such as fuel, water, food, building materials for their homes, and traditional medicines. Yet growing population density, increasing land scarcity, weak rule of law, and the 1998 Land Act’s legalization of a land market have created a situation of intense competition for land in northern Uganda.

Policy Papers & Briefs
October 2010

Over 80% of all land in Uganda is held under unregistered ‘customary tenure’. This means that it is private property, but the owners need no documents to prove ownership. Their claims to the land, and the boundaries of the land, are locally recognised, and this recognition is given the full protection of State law.

Policy Papers & Briefs
September 2009

The protection given to the land rights of women, orphans and any other vulnerable groups in Northern and Eastern Uganda is probably as good as can be found anywhere in the world. Customary land law is based on three main principles. First, everyone is entitled to land, and no-one can ever be denied land rights. A second principle is that all inherited land is family land, never individual property.

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