Justice Kasule Wants Customary Law Revised

1087 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Kasule also recommends that a certificate of tittle be provided to all occupants on customary land to avoid disputes of land grabbing.

 Retired Court of Appeal Judge, Remmy Kasule wants all the laws governing customary land ownership in the country revised. 

He made the recommendation while appearing before the Justice Catherine Bamugemerire Land Commission where he was invited to give his expert view on Land conflicts in the country.

Kasule said there is need to define what constitutes a customary tenant or customary land owner. According to the Land Act 1998, customary tenure" means a system of land tenure regulated by customary rules, which are limited in their operation to a particular description or class of person. 

One can be a customary owner upon succession, obtaining a portion of land or being born on land that has been held under customary law. Kasule says that even though one holding land under such circumstances uses, practices and pays the requite fees to a landlord in case of tenants, there is need to clearly define who a tenant is.

He explained that many trespassers have taken advantage of this legal provision, which has fueled conflicts in the country.

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Kasule also recommends that a certificate of tittle be provided to all occupants on customary land to avoid disputes of land grabbing. 

According to Section 59 of the Registration of Tittles Act, Chap 230, "…every certificate of title issued under this Act shall be received in all courts as evidence of the particulars set forth in the certificate and of the entry of the certificate in the Register Book, and shall be conclusive evidence that the person named in the certificate as the proprietor of or having any estate or interest in or power to appoint or dispose of the land described in the certificate is seized or possessed of that estate or interest or has that power".

Kasule says that this Act doesn't put into consideration the interest of Bonafide occupants under the customary law or lawful occupants whose interests don't appear on the certificate of tittle.

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The retired justice also suggested that a clear definition of family land be constituted as a mechanism to curb conflicts that arise among families over land.

He is concerned that while section 38A and 39 of the Land Act offer security to spouses in respect of the land where the family home is situated, there is need to define what family land in general constitutes.

Kasule suggest that both the husband and wife should be required to register with the registrar of Tittles their family property.

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Kasule further suggested that customary land owners be obliged to have the boundaries of their land properly demarcated, land surveyed and acquire titles to avoid land grabbing.