Mediation skills help woman to regain land

Land conflict has been rampant in Northern Uganda since the resettlement of people from the IDP camps in 2007. Women have been the most affected. In Paicho Sub-County, Kal ali Parish, Tee olam Village a widow called Lamara aged 59 years has been a victim of this for over 9 years. With 3 children to fend for with food, education and clothing, she was denied her land by Ben who is a nephew to her husband and she was left with no option but to let her children fend for themselves through doing petty jobs since land was her only source of income. The story began when this widow moved with her children during the war but when peace returned, she wanted to resettle back to her marital home.

On returning, she found when Ben had taken all her gardens and sold off 7 acres of land that belonged to her family without consulting her. He faked their grandmother’s name and signature yet by the time of the sale, his grandmother had passed on 2 years earlier. When she tried to ask Ben, he became aggressive, threatened her and he continued using her home remaining backyard to plant food for himself.This left Lamara with nowhere to farm and the small garden she was left with could not support her to feed her family as well as make some money from farming. She thus faced difficulties in paying fees for her children thus 2 of her children dropped out of school while the one remaining in school is struggling all alone, doing petty jobs to continue with school.

She had reported the case to the elders and clan leaders who on several attempts to resolve the case tried to call Ben, but he had never attended any of the meetings, ignoring invitation letters. The cultural leader (Rwot Kweri) again invited Ben for a mediation meeting on the 12th/11/2015 after receiving the mediation training from GWED-G but he did not appear for the meeting. They together with the clan head, local leaders as well as sub-county land committee, agreed and wrote to the clan head and cultural leaders of Koch (Ben’s clan leaders as his father is a born of Koch Goma Sub-County, Nwoya district) and on the 24th/11/2015, the mediation meeting went on with Ben in attendance and a representative of his clan. Ben was counselled and advised, he agreed to leave the widows garden and made peace with the widow.“I had lost hope for ever regaining my land. I thank GWED-G and the clan leaders who have made this possible” Said Lamara after regaining her land. The cultural leaders then agreed to help and show Ben his mother’s boundaries. The 7 acres sold was also agreed that the clan meets to discuss how to pay back the buyer’s money as well as talk to the buyer.

The widow now plans to use her land for extensive farming in the next coming season to allow her make money and support her family as well as the other child who is still struggling with school to continue with school without challenges. She will use proceeds from the farm to pay for his school fees even though he is now a grown up boy. She is also happy that her children and grandchildren are now getting food after the harvest from the regained land. Her elder son has now constructed a new house hence reducing congestion on the small piece of land they have.