Assessing the implementation of the spousal consent of the Uganda Land Act 1998

Land is a crucial source of livelihood for Ugandans, especially for those who live in Kayunga district, as it is one of the main agricultural districts of the country. The 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides for the emancipation of women. Section 38A in particular stipulates that the consent of one’s spouse must be obtained before the other spouse can make any transaction with family land, including selling, pledging, mortgaging, exchanging or transferring it. Nevertheless, many women still fall victim to land sales by their husbands.

This research was carried out in Nazigo and Kangulumira sub-counties, Kayunga district and focuses on those who have suffered from the violation of this clause. FHRI’s project aims to target the lack of informed advocacy in favour of women’s land rights, and the need for a statutory consent system to ensure the spousal consent law has a palpable impact on systems of land ownership and exchange.

This report analyses whether the consent clause has been effectively implemented in Kayunga district and makes recommendations for improvement. It highlights the general views of the community about the clause and the major causes of violation of it. Most people in this region were ignorant of the law and the consent clause.

The study also revealed that most women do not report violations of this clause until they have experienced it more than once. These women, other community members and local leaders are not empowered to ensure that this clause is implemented. Specific recommendations to governments, parliaments, local administration, leaders, and communities have been made.