Joint Ownership of Family Land in Uganda: Examining the Responses, Challenges and Policy Implications


Kabumbuli, Robert. 2016. “Joint Ownership of Family Land in Uganda: Examining the Responses, Challenges and Policy Implications.” African Sociological Review 20 (1): 67–86.

Author: Robert Kabumbuli


Many widows and orphans in get dispossessed of family land after the death of the head of household, but this could be countered by registered joint ownership of the land. Based on a study of two districts in Uganda, this paper examines the local responses, challenges and policy implications of joint ownership. Over 260 households, and a variety of key informants, were interviewed. The majority of respondents, especially women, agreed that joint ownership of family land is useful, arguing that it provides family security and enhances marital stability. Those who opposed joint ownership argued that marriage itself is unstable, and there is no trust between the spouses. In practice however, the family land is mostly male-owned. Most households do not have any ownership documents, and this is a challenge because joint ownership needs to be registered in order to be legally binding. The growing commercialization of land is also a challenge since it makes individual ownership more preferable. Joint ownership lacks strong support among both men and women, it is constrained by cultural beliefs and practices, and the institution of marriage in which it is anchored is getting weaker. Therefore in order to be effective, any policies and strategies for securing the interests of the family members in the family land must take account of these challenges.
Beaucoup de Veuves et d'ont été orphelins dépossédés des terres familiales après la mort du chef de ménage, mais cela pourrait être  contre la propriété par enregistrée conjoint de la terre. Base sur une étude de deux en Ouganda districts, cet article examine les Réponses locales, les Defis et les politiques de la implications Copropriété. Plus de 260 ménages et divers informateurs clés ont été interviewés. La majorité des répondants, en particulier les femmes ont convenu que la Copropriété familiales des terres est utile, arguant qu'elle assure la sécurité de la famille et la renforce Stabiliti conjugal. Ceux qui se sont la propriété à opposés conjoint ont soutenu que le mariage lui-même est instable et qu'il n'y a pas de confiance entre les conjoints. Dans la pratique Cependant, les terres de la famille sont pour la plupart des hommes. La plupart des ménages they disposent pas de documents de propriété, ce qui constitue un défi car la propriété conjoint doit être pour être enregistrée juridiquement contraignante. Croissant la commercialization des terres est également un défi car elle rend la propriété individuelle plus préférable. La Copropriété they bénéficie pas d'un soutien solide tant que chez les hommes chez les femmes, elle est limitée par les croyances et les pratiques culturelles, et l'institution du mariage où elle est ancrée s'affaiblit. Par conséquent, pour être efficaces, toutes les politiques et Stratégies Visant à garantir les intérêts des membres de la famille dans la terre familiale doivent tenir compte de ces Defis.

Keywords: gender, family, inheritance, joint ownership, marriage

Topics: Gender, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2016

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at