Eria Serwajja

Uganda, Ph.D Development Studies, Lecturer, Department of Development Studies, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda 2021

‘Informal’ Land Demarcation Systems: A Lifeline to De-escalation of Land Conflicts and Promotion of Peace in Post-conflict Northern Uganda

Eria Serwajja

Project Description

While relative peace and normalcy has gradually returned to northern Uganda after more than two decades of armed confrontation between the Uganda Government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, new forms of conflicts centered around land are progressively increasing in the Acholi sub-region. Land conflicts initiated ‘from above’ by national elites aligned to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) government and ‘from below’ by local elites have increased, with profound implications on peace and stability in post-conflict northern Uganda. Although land conflicts are gradually increasing in northern Uganda, the rural poor communities who bear the heaviest brunt have not simply given in and turned into spectators when their land is enclosed by local and national elites. Most rural poor peoples are mobilizing a rich repertoire of ‘everyday resources’ within their reach in order to either address or avert the contestations over land within their communities. Among the many initiatives include planting trees around their pieces of land to act as ‘identity’ markers, and engraving the names of land owners on the trees that were not cut down at the height of the LRA war. In addition to showing the boundaries of the land, the engraved names and live fences appear to provide a plausible solution to the emerging land conflicts. This study examines the ways in which the emerging ‘informal’ land demarcation systems within the local communities are de-escalating land conflicts and promoting peace in post-conflict northern Uganda.

Bio
Eria Serwajja is a Lecturer at the Department of Development Studies of Makerere University, Uganda. He obtained his PhD in Development Studies in 2014 from the Institute for Social Development, University of the Western Cape, South Africa. He also has a Master of Philosophy degree in Development Studies from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and a Bachelor’s in Urban Planning degree from Makerere University, Uganda. He is a development professional with an interdisciplinary background in Development Studies and Urban Planning, expertise and research interests at the interface of development and society, urban and rural sciences, human-environmental interactions, and local economic development.