Women asked to include spouses in land registration

Women in Phalombe district have been asked to include their husbands as joint owners of their land during land registration under the Customary Land Act which requires people to register their land for ownership purposes.

Parliament passed the land laws in the year of 2016 to be issuing land registration certificates in order to, among others, lessen land ownership wrangles in different communities across the country.

During the land registration sensitization meeting on Friday in Phalombe district, it was noted that despite being married most women in the Southern Region’s district are leaving their husbands out in the registration processes.

Centre for Environment Policy and Advocacy (Cepa) project officer, Haswel Molande, said they have observed that in the area of group village headman Maoni, which is one of the areas where the registration is being piloted, most land has been registered by women only.

“Yes indeed as you have heard that women have more land than men and this is coming because of a culture here which says that the woman and her uncles are the land owners, usually the uncles will keep the land for the women.

“But to say the fact, people have welcomed this development here and I can tell you that we are receiving pressure from where we are yet to reach that they want also to register their land,” he said.

Molande then advised women who did not include their husbands that still they have a chance of changing their papers and get their husbands registered in the documents stating the ownership of their lands.

Sub Traditional Authority Maoni agreed with Molande that indeed numbers of people who have registered are higher on the women side than men because they practice matrilineal system where the descent is recognised through mother’s line.

“The figures indeed are showing that more women have registered their lands than men since here a man leaves his home and go to woman’s home so women think that one day the man may decide to leave her so that’s why they did not include their husbands in their registration.

“However, we have seen that other women have registered their lands together with their husbands considering that these men left their home villages long time ago,” he said.

The chief then urged other women who are yet to register their lands that they should be including their husbands.

A total of 1,991 and 650 women and men respectively have so far registered their lands in the district in the pilot phase of the registration currently happening in three districts in the country including Rumphi and Kasungu.

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