Customary Land Tenure System

Customary Land Tenure System

The Customary Land Tenure System is an arrangement under which land is owned by Indigenous communities and administered in line with their customs and norms. This system is opposed to statutory tenure brought up during the colonial periods.

Customary Land Tenure applies to a specific land areas and are governed by customary laws. Land under this tenure system is communally or jointly owned by particular groups of people. Land use under this tenure is commonly controlled by elders, clan heads or a group in its own well-defined administrative structure and authority. In Uganda, this land tenure is found in the north, south and western Uganda.

Over 60% 0f land in Uganda is held on customary tenure system. In this case, people own their land, have their rights to it, but most of the times don’t have land titles. Some tenants on such land allocate specific areas to themselves with known and defined boundaries usually marked by ridges, trenches, trees and provisional mark stones.

In Uganda, Customary tenure embodies the main part of landholdings that is between 70% & 80% of the land in the country. There is a sizable collection of customary tenure structures among Uganda’s more than 60 indigenous clusters, that is, from powerfully distinctive tenure configurations to exceedingly communal structures. Customary systems also differ in how members acquire, use, manage and transfer land.

The Uganda Land Act identifies the fact that customary land occupancy conveys legitimate rights minus documented evidence and offers what is known as a “Certificate of Customary Ownership.”  In the laws of Uganda, customary tenure is defined as “A system of land tenure regulated by customary rules which are limited in their operation to a particular description or class of persons.”

In Uganda, there are diverse systems in which customary land tenure occurs in various parts. In some areas, customary land is owned communally, in some parts; the land belongs to a certain clan whereas in other sections, it is held by individual persons.

Similarly, the rules of customary arrangement as well differ in various areas of Uganda. The 1998 Land Act states that the customary land tenure shall be governed by rules largely acknowledged as obligatory by a given community and anybody that attains land in that community shall be legally bound by the same rules.  With customary tenure, attaining of a private certificate of title is probable for individuals, whereby they modestly have to agree with the community in charge of that land (clan or tribal heads).