LEMU mourns the passing of its founding director, Ms Judy Adoko
The LEMU Staff and Board, the family of Judy, the NGO fraternity, the people of Lango and the land sector in Uganda and globally.
Waking up to the sad news of Judy’s passing has not been something easy to deal with, yet it has sparked new kinds of energies from all people who knew Judy to rise up and take her cause forward. Judy lived a life dedicated to one thing, a better world for the underprivileged. She demonstrated her dedication through various fronts, but most importantly through her struggle for the recognition of Customary Land rights in Uganda. She always argued that customary land must be considered as equal to all other tenure systems, and this valuable contribution is captured in Uganda’s National Land Policy, 2013.
In the fight for equality between customary land tenure and other tenures, Judy was actually fighting for the freedom of African people, to govern their land using their social norms and customs, as opposed to purely depending on state laws whose interpretations are sometimes alien to the real life situations of African people, such as those who own land under customary tenure in the different societies in Uganda. Judy’s work therefore put the question of land at the center of political and development discourses on Uganda, in the last 20 years.
She did not work to gain personal wealth and enrichment, but valued humanity most. Judy may not have many biological children, but has mentored and influenced thousands in Uganda and around the world through her works, writings and thinking. The death of Judy at such a time is therefore not only a loss to this professional community that she built, but also a re-awakening for these career and intellectual children to take up her mantle.
In LEMU where she recruited and trained hundreds of young people to understand and defend customary land rights and the dignity of traditional (clan) institutions that govern land, Judy has left a remarkable legacy that will live for generations to come. We are deeply sadden to lose Judy at the 20th anniversary of an organization (LEMU) through which she advocated for the rights of African people over their land, yet we are encouraged to do more and better in her memory. Rest in Power Judy!!!
Dr Theresa Auma
Executive Director, LEMU