Gender and Land Rights Database

Uganda

Discrepancies/gaps between statutory and customary laws

  • Article 21(2) of the 1995 Constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex. However, application of Islamic and customary laws to the extent that daughters inherit fewer shares or nothing at all constitutes a violation of the equality and non-discriminatory principles expressed in the Constitution.
  • Also, the rights of widows are not equal to the rights of widowers: widows are only ensured their continued occupation of the residential property they used to occupy with their husbands and do not have the right to control this property in any way. Also, as soon as a widow remarries, her occupancy rights to this property expire (11).
  • Although constitutional provisions protect gender equality, the particular land tribunal applies the constitutional principles in dispute situations. It has been reported that the Local Council Courts routinely make gender-biased decisions, especially in marital property inheritance cases (3).
  • There are also discrepancies among statutory norms. Although Article 21(2) of the Constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex, Section 3(1) of the Succession Act, by including the definition of legal heir, violates the Constitution and discriminates against women. A legal heir is defined as the living relative nearest in degree to a deceased person who has left no will, with the qualifying provision that a male will be given preference over a female (11).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography