A grouping called Land Justice Consortium has vowed to ensure that land law amendments favor the marginalized, saying there is need to liberate the country from land colonization since most of the arable and prime land is “in the wrong hands”.
The grouping comprises organizations such as Land Governance Alliance (LAGA), Economic Freedom Fighters Movement, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), MOVE, Peoples Federation for National Peace and Development (PEFENAP) and Mzuzu Youth Caucus.
Speaking at a press briefing today, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said while they support a proposed amendment to the land bill, they demand that freehold land ownership should be removed and converted to leasehold estates or if anything freehold land tenure should be an exclusive entitlement for Indigenous Malawians.
Namiwa added there should be creation of customary land estate which will be held by Malawians in perpetuity. He argued that registration of customary land into customary estate will ensure security of land tenure.
“What we are asking is that land owners should be Malawians. We also want land documents to be digitized instead of relying on hand documents or hard copies.
“We are aware that some elements are working day and night with the oppressors to discredit the forthcoming land bills amendments which are in circulation. The consortium is also mindful of how the invisible hand managed to deny Malawians a chance to reclaim their ancestral inheritance by taking away sections 9 sub section 2 and 3 in the then land bill of 2016. It is for this reason that we are on high alert to expose and fight against any such attempts this time around,” said Namiwa.
On her part, Mphatso Jumbe who is also member of the grouping said there should be speedy implementation of customary land registration as well as recruitment of required personnel
Jumbe went on to say that the legislation will ensure that the rights of the people are safeguarded irrespective of their gender, age or tribe.
“The discrimination of women and youth goes against the constitution of Malawi and destabilizes the possibility of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Land Justice Consortium’s core responsibility is ensuring that the indigenous Malawian gets justice in issues of land management and administration.
“The LJC is appealing to Malawians of goodwill and other likeminded individuals and institutions to come forward and join the struggle to liberate the country from land colonization where most of the arable and prime land is in the wrong hands,” she explained.
Malawi Parliament amended land laws in 2016 and there is speculation that land amendment bills will also be tabled in Parliament this year.