The Malawi National Assembly has passed a Land Amendment Bill that seeks to empower not only the poor, but also women who struggle to access land due to cultural issues.
The bill whch was tabled in the House by Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi now gives power to rural Malawians and women to own customary land inherited from their ancestors.
According to Muluzi, the bill is for poor people who in the past couldn’t afford to own a land as the registration process of owning a land was being done and signed by a minister at at a fee which local Malawians and women couldn’t afford but the new law which is free now to register a land will be done by a committee of six people with three women and men and Traditional Authority of the area.
Muluzi said the bill is critical as it now empowers the poor and underprivileged Malawians who have never had a chance to own and register the land
“People will also be sensitised on the proper utilisation of land. This is also to ensure that we curb any potential abuse or misuse of that particular very, very important asset which we need to safe guard at all cost,” said Muluzi.
Muluzi further said despite women being the biggest agricultural producers, they are the least when it comes to land ownership.
He said: “Over 70 per cent of the food that is produced in Malawi is produced by women. Now if you want to increase agricultural productivity in Malawi, we have to make sure that we provide tenancy security and property rights for women. The idea was that you will be encouraged to invest on land that you own, as you know you have got title to that land and hopefully will increase agriculture productivity in Malawi.”
Muluzi told Parliament that the initial land registration will be free for all citizens of the country.
Member of Parliament from Mwanza Central Davis Katsonga posed a question as he wanted to know whether the land registration would require a fee.
Muluzi said land registration has been taking place in the last 52 years but it was a privilege for the rich.
“In order to address some of the challenges that had been there as regards to land matters, there is no provision that the initial registration itself would attract any fee.
“Land registration was only a privilege for the rich in Malawi, now it is changing, the poorest of the poor should be able to register their land freely,” he said.
The Minister said upon registering the land, the land would belong solely to the owner and not be regarded as public land.
Muluzi said the main reason for the provision was to cater for the vulnerable groups such as women who mostly work in the fields but have no land of their own.
“There are also committees which will be put in place to ensure that women are also part of the committee, which will be responsible for recommending to the chiefs on how best land can also be shared,” he added.
The passing of the Bill means that out of 10 Land-related Bills, only one is remaining.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :