Where do I report my land dispute? The impact of institutional proliferation on land governance in post-conflict Northern Uganda
until further notice
SourceJournal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, 48, 2, (2016), pp. 238-255
4 juli 2016
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
SubjectInstitute for Management Research
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda has been hailed for embarking on an intensive decentralization programme. Whereas a lot of literature assumes that decentralization leads to improved service delivery, it is unclear to what extent this is the case in practice, especially when it comes down to decentralized land governance. This paper, which is based on ethnographic research carried out between 2011 and 2013, argues that decentralization of land governance in post-conflict Northern Uganda fails to realize the expected benefits and instead has increased tenure insecurity. Decentralization of land governance gave rise to institutional multiplicity by creating new institutions that add on to the already existing authorities and regulations. Institutional proliferation in land governance that is fuelled by legal pluralism and decentralization results into confusion in land dispute resolution and the failure of institutions to effectively resolve land disputes in post-conflict settings. This exacerbates the dilemma of people who do not know where to go to seek redress to land disputes. While this multiplicity of both statutory and customary institutions creates choices and opportunities for both people and institutions in relation to land governance and in particular land conflict resolution, they are also used by power holders and authorities in political competition at local level, complicating the process of land dispute resolution. The struggle for authority between representatives of the state and of customary land institutions becomes especially problematic because it merges with local and national politics.
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