Dividing Communities in South Sudan and Northern Uganda: Boundary disputes and land governance

‘A very compelling and timely intervention in the study of land conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa. It demonstrates the different ways in which the changing value of land and systems of land governance have influenced and shaped land conflicts in South Sudan and northern Uganda. Stretching back to colonial history and moving forward to the twenty first century, the report answers complicated questions about land conflicts in both countries. By going beyond the narratives of legality, ethnicity and boundary demarcations, the authors unpack not only the local and national social processes shaping land conflicts, but also ways in which multiple land rights are negotiated, contested and debated.’
PAMELA KHANEKWA, MAKARERE UNIVERSITY, KAMPALA

‘This report is enriched by a comparative analysis that provides not only robust findings but also practical implications for land governance. It is timely and may contribute to the current debate about decentralization and federalism.’
LUKA BIONG DENG, UNIVERSITY OF JUBA, PRIO AND CARR CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS POLICY

In September 2014, a conflict erupted between South Sudanese and Ugandans in the borderlands of Kajokeji County, South Sudan and Moyo District, Uganda. Several people were killed, many more injured and thousands displaced. In Dividing Communities in South Sudan and Northern Uganda, the authors argue that the boundary dispute is not simply the result of a failure of governments to demarcate this stretch of the international border, but needs to be understood in the context of changing land values, patterns of decentralisation and local hybrid systems of land governance. Based on historical and empirical research, it examines how these factors are fuelling land-grabbing, distorting longer-term patterns of land tenure and promoting exclusionary land rights. By shifting attention away from the national legislation and policy, this report explores the underlying factors that may be driving the proliferation of land and boundary conflicts in the region.