Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU) is a non-profit organization that works to link effort from all stakeholders mandated to protect land for better tenure security. Land in Northern Uganda where LEMU operates is predominantly held under customary tenure; a system where most land is untitled and is governed by traditional norms and practices.
In the past, the ancestors of the Lango people divided land into two categories; family land for settlement and cultivation; and community land for grazing and collection of resources. Community land is often adjacent to wetlands which wetlands were not for human settlement but for serving the whole community with uses ranging from grazing to collection of building materials, to gathering of wild foods. Community land by definition is a piece of land that is used and shared by more than one family, or one to several villages.
In the past, these lands had an individual or a set of elders that managed the land and guided people on usage through oral rules. However, a combination of cattle raids that left the land vacant; a twenty year insurgency which forced people into Internally Displaced People’s camp and dominance of formal state law which stripped traditional leaders of the powers to adjudicate and enforce decisions, weakened the traditional system. These left the land redundant as well as a management vacuum which gave opportunities for encroachments and land grabbing of these community lands. As a result, majority of community lands in Lango region are being grabbed or encroached on and thousands of users are being denied access to these resources.