Call for security features on land certificates: Pilot phase lessons to guide review process

Ministry of Lands has suggested that security feature which be included to land certificates in order to protect them from being tampered with as part of the lessons learnt from the pilot phase of the  Strenghtening Land Governance Systems  for Smallholder Farmers in Malawi peoject fo the review of Land Act.

Mia: We need to safeguard land certificates with security features
Three people from Rumphi were presented with land Certificates pic by Tione Andsen (Mana)

Deputy Minister of Lands, Abida Mia made the suggestion Tuesday at Golden Peacock in Lilongwe when she opened a High Level workshop on lessons learnt from the pilot project on the implementation of land laws in Phalombe, Kasungu and Rumphi.

She said there was need to put strong security features on the certificate to ensure that they are safeguarded from the acts of manipulation as it has been happened with some documents issued at the Ministry of Lands in the past.

Mia said the enactment of the 10 land related laws was so controversial that it was decided to pilot them in eight districts so that the lessons learnt from the pilot phase could inform a national roll out of the laws.

“President has directed that the land laws should be reviewed and, in this respect, the pilot phase of the laws should be allowed to continue until the end of the years, “the Deputy Minister added.

President Lazarus Chakwera sanctioned a review of the laws passed in 2016 when he appeared in Parliament last month when he cited shortcuts in the process of enacting the 10 Land Bills into law, since  only legislators from the then governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) too part.

Abida Mia said the pilot phase of the laws has a critical role of the Land Clerk in every traditional land management area where stakeholders have felt the workload would be too much for a single clerk in an entire area of the traditional authority.

“It was felt one clerk would not be able to facilitate all the adjudication and land demarcation work in a traditional land management area. We urge stakeholders to critically look into this issue and examine how best it can inform the law review process.” Mia explained.

The Deputy Minister expressed gratitude to Europa Union (EU) for having financed the pilot phase in the said three districts.

She acknowledged World Banks’ financial support for the pilot phase in the other five districts under Agriculture Commercialization Project and Shire Valley Transformation Programme.

Mia appreciated the role played by a consortium of Oxfam, Centre for Environmental policy and Advocacy and Landnet in the implementing the lands laws in Phalombe Kasungu and Rumphi.

Country Director of Oxfam in Malawi, Lingalireni Mihowa said due to collaborative efforts with rural women assembly rural women mobilization and organization in the three pilot districts 4,211 customary estates and 1,041 estates were registered.

She said this represents 35 percent of land registered as belonging to women and this was no mean achievement.

Head of Cooperation at European Union delegation to Malawi, Ivo Hoefkens said the project has helped to define land property in the agriculture sector.

He said the project provide an interest features with perfect collaboration among Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and government in implementation of the project.

Three people from Rumphi namely Emily Kaira, Pachalo Mkandawire and Lekani Mhango were presented with their Land certificates.

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