In December 2017, community members in Amuru sub-county, Amuru district in Northern Uganda successfully facilitated the mediation of land dispute in their village.
The land dispute between Okumu Ajomo and Oloya Dini in Tur Padac Oberabic village, Amuru sub-county that had lasted over 12 years, resulting in fighting, destruction of property and arrests was finally resolved through mediation.
The two men were referred back to the community for mediation by the police. The warring parties agreed to the mediation. The mediation was initiated by the local leaders and community members were asked to witness the proceedings.
The mediators included sub-county officials, local council leaders, community oversight persons and village elders. During the meeting, one of mediators; a local council leader shared misinformation on the processes of land registration and dispute resolution.
He was heckled by the gathering that was well informed on the matters at hand. He became forceful and tried to rush the proceedings when challenged and even threatened individuals with arrest, narrates David Okongo a community oversight person of Amuru sub-county.
As community oversight person, David’s role is to ensure that the mediation process is clear and transparent.
Despite his threats, the gathering continued to challenge him. A group of women present shared the right way to conduct a mediation and also described the correct process of land registration.
The other mediators including David had to take charge of the meeting to ensure a peaceful resolution of the dispute. The mediation was successfully brokered with both parties content with the outcome.
Through community sensitizations facilitated by the USAID Supporting Access to Justice, Fostering Equity and Peace (SAFE) program, community oversight persons have empowered communities with information on land matters and rights.
Individuals have become knowledgeable about land issues and are able to educate their colleagues and leaders on the same.
The USAID (SAFE) program identified and trained 107 community oversight persons in the districts of Nebbi, Gulu and Amuru to provide information and support to the communities on land related issues as well as oversee the work of the area land committees and other informal institutions handling land management within the communities.