Statutory Laws and the Realization of Women`s Property Rights in

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The Application of Succession Law
in the Realization of Women’s
Land Rights in Uganda
by
Ssonko Nabacwa Mary (PhD
Development Studies)
Outline of the presentation



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

Background
Objectives of the study
The Office of the AG
 Establishment
 Mandates
 Procedures
Approach to the study
Findings
Conclusion
Background



Inheritance is one of the main means of land
acquisition in Uganda
Statutory laws are perceived to protect
women’s inheritance and property rights
Cap 162 of the laws of Uganda relates to
succession

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Sections of the succession Act that were deemed
unfair to women were repealed in 2007
Cap 157 of the laws of Uganda provides for
the administration of estates of deceased
persons by the AGO
Background Cont….
Three years ago, a study was done
to establish whether women’s
inheritance rights particularly in
relation to land were protected by
one of the institutions mandated to
do so– the OAG
 This office was enacted in 1933, it
constitutes one of the departments
in the Ministry of Justice
 This law has never been reviewed

Objectives of the study
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To evaluate the effectiveness of
statutory laws and practices of the AG
office in relation to women’s property
rights
Ascertaining the volume and number of
received and concluded cases by the
office of the Administrator General
during the period 1986 – 2005
Objectives Cont…
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Establishing proportions of immovable
property particularly land awarded to
women compared to their male counterparts
by AG office
Document the practices of this office in the
execution of its duties
Mandates of the AGO
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It is closely intertwined with the Estates
Trusts and Succession Laws (Caps 154-165),
particularly the SA (Cap 162) as well as
Marriage and Divorce Laws
The office facilitates the management of a
deceased person’s immovable (land, &
buildings) and movable properties
Procedures

The AG Office assumes power to
administer a deceased’s’ estate under 6
major circumstances:
when the deceased has left a will
appointing the office to administer
his/her estate
 when the deceased makes a will and
omits to appoint an executor
 when the persons named as executors in
the will die before the testator or when
they renounce that responsibility

Procedures Cont…
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When the letters of administration have not
been obtained within 2 months from the
death of the testator or,
When the deceased died without a will
If/when a creditor brings his/ her claim to the
office. Other responsibilities of the AG
include keeping and accounting for every
estate under his/her jurisdiction
Approach to the study
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10% of cases reported to the AGO between
1986 and 2005 were selected by simple
random sampling.
A structured data extraction form was
used to extract details of cases
The Data was analyzed using the SPSS
Package to Frequency tables and for
divergent or similar gender patterns
Content analysis was used to relate to
existing theories in the analysis of gender
disparities
Study Limitations
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Scanty and mmissing information
information on the files

Poor records storage and retrieval

Indeterminate cases
Findings
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A total of 609 cases were extracted
clients utilized different arbitration levels
including:
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Local councils (40%)
Family/Clan leaders (20%),
NGOs (Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA),
Legal Aid)
District offices (CAO)
before and in-between reporting the case
and visits to the AG’s office as well as the
High Court
Findings cont…
Regional Distribution of Cases
West
14%
East
14%
North
9%
Cental
63%
Findings cont…
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Out of the 609 deceased 500 (82%) were men
aged between 36 and 60 years

HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death for
both males and females

Only 15% of the 609 were reported to be
single at the time of death
Findings cont…
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23% of the women made wills in
comparison to 16% of the men

50% of the beneficiaries could not
directly and/or access the estate

Only 49 (8%) of the 609 cases were
indicated to be conclusively
disposed
Distribution of land and money of
non-willed Estates
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Only 35 non-willed estates over the period of
20 years were conclusively distributed

63% of distribution involved money while
35% was about land

52% of the males and 48% of the females
were apportioned land
Patterns of Property distribution
%
Sibling
5%
Other
4%
Parent
11%
Spause
17%
Children
63%
Property distribution by category
beneficiary in willed Estates
200
180
160
140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
179
133
144
111
103
Female
81
48
Land
Houses
Male
66
65
Livestock
48
Personal
effects
Other
Conclusion

The AG office plays a positive role in
restoring women’s property including land
through adhering to the succession law of equal
share in non-willed estate

The case disposal rate is very low 8%

The study helped to create a database for follow-up
to document women’s retention of the inherited land
Conclusion ….
 Findings
show that contrary to the
dominant narrative that women do
not inherit land, this study showed
that in fact women benefit much
more in willed estates
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