Latigo, James, Class of 2014 – (Uganda)

Practicum Summary:

Exploring the Significance of Indigenous Knowledge Applications in Resolution of Land Conflicts in Acholiland, Uganda

James’s research practicum explores alternative means toward resolving land conflicts that arose after the return of Acholiland inhabitants who had been forced out of their homes were permitted to return to their homeland. In 1994, in an effort to subdue the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Uganda People’s Defense Force relocated Acholiland inhabitants to Internally Displaced Persons Camps. As the Acholi people returned to their community, they faced many challenges associated with the redistribution of land, including land-grabbing by politicians, civil servants, the business community and local and national investors. In many areas, these disputes resulted in the re-displacement of people, destruction of property, and even the loss of life. In this case communities that once lived together found themselves in the midst of a second war. In order to collect data over a twenty month period, James focused on the lived experiences of the Puranga Clan, which he documented through historical memory practices, interviews, observations, and focus group discussions. After analyzing his data, James constructed the following recommendations to resolving land conflicts in Acholiland: engage lawmakers to identify loopholes in the Land Act and push for amendments that will protect the land and its rightful owners; educate the masses on the practices of land law using radio, schools, and training programs; empower lower courts to handle less contestable rulings; and involve traditional practices as complimentary methods of resolution to formal procedures.