By Deo Wasswa
Women in Acholi region decry increasing marginalization that has deprived them of their rights especially the rights to own land. The situation has been worsened by the discovery of oil in the region and now men feel women should not own any piece of land that could have the black gold beneath.
While giving testimonies during the northern Uganda conference organized by action aid and land alliance solidarity, to forge a way forward on the question of women land rights, the land victims said that Widows are losing land to investors and rich men and not even petitions to government have done much to solve this and they now demanding a turn around.
Land has become the biggest source of conflicts in northern Uganda, especially due to the culture that deters women from owning land. In the event that a woman is widowed, in most cases the land is taken away by the husbands’ relatives, leaving women and children landless and suffering.
In recent years, several petitions by women have been forwarded to government to address this but little help has come from the central government. The local leadership attributes the problem to the complex culture where women cannot own land and women looking at themselves are possession by men
Government has found itself in a complicated situation, given the fact that land in Acholi is culturally owned. Government is now engaging the area cultural leaders to resolve the land issues and issues of women rights and land acquisition
The situation has been worsened by the discovery of oil and land conflicts have shot over the last two years. Investors are flocking the oil rich region, especially in Nwoya and Amur district and women have found themselves on the disadvantaged side, as men sell of land without their consent. They want this addressed
Efforts by civil society to mitigate the problem have only served as a drop in the ocean but the women hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.