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Social and Productive legitimacy: Cattle keepers, access to land and marginalization in the south-western region of Uganda
7 December 2015 @ 11h00 - 13h00
Victoire Chalin, Phd Candidate in socio-anthropology
In the south-western region of Uganda, north of Lake Mburo National Park, a resettlement scheme and a ranching scheme are home of cattle keeping activities on two different scales. Both are located on government land, making the state and its agents to possess a strong hold on them. One scheme is partially occupied by high ranked veterans, military members, well-connected individuals and the other scheme is inhabited by victims or veterans of the national resistance army, who have lost properties and families during the Bush War (1981-1986).
The study undertaken is of Kanyanyeru Resettlement Scheme (KRS) which provides a representative example of how the government uses land as a key patronage tool. Thirty square miles of the scheme was given to displaced people but it directly borders the National Park making it difficult for cultivation and cattle rearing. The degazetted area was distributed among families whose income was based on ‘pastoralist’ activities. After thirty years, it is observable that most of the farms lack accessibility to markets and basic agricultural assistance due to their remote locations.
The principal aim of creating the scheme was settling “pastoralists” who are described as non-productive farmers. The social legitimacy of the cattle keepers of the KRS seems to be based on two criteria. First is the status of victims, “displaced” people and veterans of the Bush War that led Y.K.Museveni to power (1986-today). Secondly is their farming system. Indeed, the leasehold that they have been given by the state specifically mentioned a condition “user to be restricted to mixed farming”. From small scale “pastoralists” the individuals of the KRS have been settled in a remote area without access to markets for their milk, and without water for their cattle. The social marginalization they face and the competition for land that increases due to the recent settlement of cultivators tends to feed a social stratification ideology that places cattle keepers above cultivators in the social hierarchy. In taking the example of the Kanyanyeru Resettlement Scheme in Uganda, this presentation will show how social competition and the dependence on the semi-authoritarian power to access resources leads to withdrawal and exclusive group belongings.
Discussant : Francesca di Matteo
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