Ministry clear mist on Land Bills passed by Malawi parliament

Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has come out to clear the mist over four land-related Bills passed in parliament: Land Bill, Physical Planning Bill, Land Survey Bill and Customary Land Bill.

Minister Atupele Muluzi:
Minister Atupele Muluzi: Malawians will be able to use land as security for obtaining a loan from the bank

The opposition  expressed worry at the way the Land Bill was rushed through Parliament which forced the MPs to walk out.

And the Customary Land Bill has also caused concern among chiefs who fear that it will take away the authority they have over land.

But Minister of  Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi  explained that in terms of the current Land Act, customary land is defined as land held, used or occupied by the people communally meaning that the land is not individually or privately owned.

“In its current status, customary land cannot be used as security to obtain a loan from the bank. When government is acquiring such land for public use, compensation is not paid for the land itself because it is considered as having no value.

“With the passing of the Land Bill and the Customary Land Bill, individuals in the local community will now have an opportunity to register this land. This means that they will be recognised as the private owners of the land,” Muluzi explained  to Nyasa Times.

He said now  individuals will then be able to use this land as security for obtaining a loan from the bank.

“The owner will also be able to lease or sublease their land or transfer ownership through their will or transmission.”

And in a statement, Secretary of  Lands, Housing and Urban Development Ivy Luhanga explained that another key change is that young people and women can also be registered as owners of the land in their own right, meaning that widows can now have security.

“These changes will all come into force once the Registered Land (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has been enacted, which will be later this year. Such registration shall only be affected after the approval of the application by the respective Land Committees and the Traditional Authorities. These Land Committees will be chaired by Group Village Headmen,” the ministry clarified.

“The initial registration of customary estates will be completed and will be covered by the Government. However, subsequent transactional costs will then need to be met by the landowners. These transactions will include the registration fees for the transfer of the customary estates, leases and subleases. These fees should be payable by the person who is buying the customary estate. The owner of the customary estate will also be requested to pay fees for the sub division of any land. The owners will also be liable for any capital gains tax that results from these transactions,” said the statement.

The ministry said the implementation strategy was developed in line with the initial Land Reform Programme that was passed in 2003 as part of the 2002 Malawi National Land Policy.

“However, with changes in law and access to new technologies, we are now in a period of review such that we can ensure that these reforms are implemented in the most efficient ways possible.  This includes taking lessons from other countries that have gone through this process,” reads the statement.

The strategy, according to the ministry,  includes the establishment of an Inter – Ministerial Steering Committee comprising all relevant ministries.

They have also established a sector working group on Land Governance comprising members of government, civil society and supporting partners to oversee the implementation of the land reforms and ensure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to support the implementation strategy.

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Chemwali chimwene
Chemwali chimwene
7 years ago

Let this bill be translated into different languages so that ordinary Malawians understand it because as it is, the majority of those who use customary land cannot follow the discussions in English. Mutharika should not endorse the bill until it has been discussed with ordinary pipo.

7 years ago

The only hope now is for APM to stop this b/s law at his desk. Right there. Where I live, right here in Malawi, the mutual understanding is that the communal land belongs to the broader family; not one person in the family. So, Muluzi, in his “wosakhwima” (lack of significant native experience) posture, is trying to convert communal property to personal property? For ever? Because, once an individual registers a piece of land, it probably cannot revert to communal the domain. End result: there will be many landless Malawians. For them, just to grow food means they would have… Read more »

Pwiya wa Pwiya
Pwiya wa Pwiya
7 years ago

Malawians, what the Minister is explaining does not support the notion that customary land belongs to the family(ies) members or community. In fact going by this clarification done by the Minister, there shall never be any customary land remaining in Malawi. For instance, selfish family/clan members will register this land to obtain loans for their individual gains. What will happen when the loans fail to be paid off in full? I am very worried about what will remain of the future generations in terms of customary land. I propose that the President should wait for further consultations on the law… Read more »

7 years ago

mmmmmhhhh.. pali kuba.. ma allowance ndi kunama apa… kaya

Only God knows

7 years ago

Intellectual bankruptcy at its best in DPP. These guys have no respect for Malawians at all. I am not sure if chief Ngongoliwa was consulted on this. All they think is that can make the best decisions on behalf of the Malawians, not knowing they are making the worst decisions. Remember the Chiphwisi Law, The change of Malawi flag and many more laws that were nullified after change of government. Why don’t they learn from the previous mistakes? I can see empty tins making lots of noises here.
I am sorry for the DDP.

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