Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Atupele Muluzi on Friday conducted a sensitization workshop with senior chiefs in the central region at Sunbird Lilongwe hotel on Friday, together with the Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Patricia Kalaiti and said traditional leaders in the country have powers on their land.
Muluzi said the land bill which has now been given the nod by President Peter Mutharika into a law has given chiefs power over their land.
The Minister said the Land Bills, 2016 including the Customary Land Bill simply seeks to ratify the Malawi National Land Policy into law.
“A momentum of change has now been established with the new land laws and this momentum needs to be maintained with the remaining six Bills which are expected to be debated in Parliament during its next sitting”.
“The legislative changes are the most comprehensive in history and will impact on every aspect of society including, agriculture, economic diversification, education, health”.
The objectives of the legislative changes are amongst others aimed at promoting tenure reforms that guarantee security of tenure and instill confidence and fairness in land transactions in a decentralized and transparent land administration structure; as well as to extend land use planning strategies to all urban and rural areas; and to establish modern land registration system for Malawi.
“At first the land was owned by the President, so it was difficult for tradition leaders to have control over it. When people want to lease land government was just putting the signature without knowing that the land is used for settlement,” explained Muluzi.
He then dismissed information that the owners of the land would pay tax over their land, but said owners can register their land to have proper documents to protect it.
Muluzi further said once the land has been leased the owners would be benefiting from it as proper compensation would be given to them whenever government wants to develop the land.
This is the first time that Malawi has adopted “home grown” legislation on land management and administration. Previous legislation was adopted from Britain at Independence in 1964.
The Minister disclosed to the Chiefs that the Ministry would soon be unveiling its implementation strategy with support from a number of partners.
Minister of Civic Education – Patricia Kaliati, informed the chiefs that her Ministry will work closely with the Ministry of Lands to civic educate the masses on the legislative changes.
She added that the land law would also empower women through the committees that would be elected in the communities being headed by the group village headmen and any issues concerning the land would be resolved by the committee before reaching senior chiefs.
Kaliati then advised women and single ladies to register their land in their names so that they have full ownership over it.
“Women have been complaining that they are always victims of land as men register through their names, but now if they acquire land before marriage and they registered it men would not take control over it,” she said.
She also said children would also have powers over the land been owned by their parents once they registered it through their names.
Kaliati promised that her ministry would develop implementation plans to make sure that the right information on land law has reached all Malawians.
Representative of Inkosi ya Makosi Goman v, Inkosazana Rosemary Malinki who spoke on behalf of all the chiefs in central region said they are happy that they have been given powers over their land and would be able to take full control over it and know how much land they have.
Similar meetings were also conducted in all the three regions. The land bill was first been presented in 1986, in 1996 they instituted Presidential Commission for land and in 1992 the president delegated Minister of land to be signing documents on land.
The land bill was passed in parliament in July 2016.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :