CSOs' statement on the amending process of the National Land Policy in Tanzania
We civil society organizations and stakeholders in the Tanzanian land sector would like to thank the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Human Settlements for initiating in good faith, the process of amending the National Land Policy of 1995 now underway.
We believe this process is important to citizens at all levels and to all stakeholders who use and depend on land as the source of their income, and for reducing or eliminating the problems and challenges which have been presented in the use, administration, and management of the land sector for a long time. This is a good opportunity for the community, stakeholders, and civil society to recommend amendments in different areas of land policies and laws. We believe that those recommendations will reduce and eliminate implementation challenges with the National Land Policy of 1995 and the Land Act.
The following are the key issues that we would like to have considered during this process in order to provide and implement a policy that is friendly to all stakeholders:
- The Commission should expand the scope of participation of citizens from various groups to comment on the National Land Policy and take their views into account when drafting the policy.
- The Drafting Commission should specify the importance of incorporating the issue of land as part of the Constitution in order to provide more land protection.
- Improve the system of land ownership and management in the country to focus on the sustainable livelihoods of small producers including farmers, fruit harvesters, miners and herders and involve them in decision making about their land.
- Improve the land use system to focus on the needs of all small producer groups existing in the country including farmers, fruit harvesters, miners and herders, in order to eliminate conflicts arising from overlapping land uses.
- Improvements should adhere to gender equality and put in place mechanisms that will allow equal access, ownership, control, use, and decision making over land for women, marginalized groups, and people with special needs.
- Delegate power to lower level authorities, especially to local or regional administrations, to advance broader representation in decision making.
- Improve the compensation delivery system to account for different means of compensation and the long term rights of citizens on land issues.
- Establish an investment system built on principles of free and prior informed consent, which enables citizens to effectively participate in determining the use of their land without interference from the sector or other authorities.
- Improve the land conflict resolution system to account for traditional conflict resolution systems and existing resolution bodies at all levels of society.
- Prioritize ensuring that land use plans are implemented with the participation of citizens in order to be able to deal with land disputes.
- Recognize and ensure land use for production systems belonging to groups of pastoralists, farmers, miners, and traditional hunters and gatherers to enable all communities to continue their activities without interference.
- The National Land Policy’s fundamental principles should be a part of the Land Act in order to reinforce its implementation and to comply with all entities responsible for managing land and settling land disputes.
These are some of the fundamental issues that we believe should be considered to find a National Policy that represents the interest of different land users specifically small holder farmers and pastoralist and to amend various land laws in the interests of the whole nation.