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Advisory on Land Justice: Begin Inquiry in Pre-Colonial Era

 

At its formation the Republic of Uganda (ROU) had no land; the land belonged to the first nations, who occupied the geography that now forms the RoU. The formation of the RoU was not negotiated amongst the first nations. Instead, it was done in line with the colonialist principal of effective occupation.

In order to acquire land for the RoU, the English colonialist deliberately suppressed the laws of the first nations. What is considered customary tenure within State Law is a concoction that the English colonialist made up in order to subjugate and undermine the laws of the first nations of Uganda.

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Reference Source – Women in Agriculture in Uganda

Covert land dispossession is when people are actually not moved off their land, but are conned into offering their land rent free, in order to grow a particular crop, in order to supply the harvest from the crop to ‘investors’. Smallholder farmers, de facto, become labourers on their own land.

At the same time smallholder farmers take the burden of the risks of crop failure, due to inappropriate weather, among others. Case in point, Teso smallholder farmers were manipulated into diverting their land to grow Epuripur sorghum under the pretext that it was for their own good.

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The Search for Authoritative Sources

Having appreciated how daunting it is to determine a source as authoritative, as news, and on which to base decision-making, I surmise that the place of authoritative sources in decision-making has remained the same from time immemorial. What is important is to appreciate that there are different cultural centres. One needs to be aware of whose central logic they are basing their thought processes and decision-making. For Africa and for Africans, it is important that we try as much as possible to locate within the cultural centres of our pre-colonial ancestors. For this to happen, we need to take the journey of self-discovery and to de-colonise our minds. We should embrace the wisdom of Ngugi wa Thiong’o that is contained in his book: “Moving the centre – the struggle for cultural freedoms”.

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