EES pushes for grassroot involvement on land policy

EES pushes for grassroot involvement on land policy

Local land administrators in Eastern Equatoria State have expressed mixed reactions to the South Sudan land policy.

They urged the policymakers in the national government to seek the opinions of the community so that they can get better land policy and avoid future conflict over ownership.

Land administrators believe that the statement that the land belongs to the people was politically motivated as a way of seeking forceful tactics to settle on people’s land.

The group raised the concerns during a one-day meeting for local land administrators organised by the South Sudan Land Alliance in partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

The meeting was to collect the views of land administrators on their roles and responsibilities to be reflected in the national land policy.

During the consultation meeting, the local administrators also recommended the need for capacity building for land administrators at all levels of land governance practise. They said there is a need for the formation of land governance structures at all levels.

Also, they requested quick approval of the national land policy to solve the problems of land conflict in South Sudan.

The director-general in the state ministry of local government and law enforcement agency, Abdallah Hussein, said the varying nature of customary laws in South Sudan complicates land ownership.

“About this consultation training, it is very important if people are organised to give their views so that we speak on behalf of the communities,” he said.

Hussein said there is a need for the national government to fully seek the grievances of the communities to help build trust with the land tenants and other people.

“Land belongs to the people in that area—not the people in general but for the particular people of the area,” he said.

Also, he challenged the national government and state ministry of land and public utilities to always seek the opinion on the ground.