LandNet Malawi celebrates as President Mutharika approves four new land laws
UPDATE: On February 6th, 2017 the President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika gave his consent to the ramaining six land bills adding to the four signed into law in September 2016. As confirmed by the Minister of Lands Atupele Muluzi, the laws will be published soon on the gazette and enter into effect.
In a meeting with ILC Member LandNet Malawi, Mr Muluzi also confirmed that a national implementation framework has been drafted and will be released soon. A coordinated and participative advocacy campaign will be launched to raise public awareness so avoiding conflicting interpretations of the land laws. In line with ILC's approach on people-centred data, a new monitoring & evalution process is being developed to enable community members to provide data which reflect their needs.
On September 13th - ending a 14 year struggle - the President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika has made it official and signed into law four out of ten proposed land bills. The final approval comes two months after the country's Parliament passed the reforms on land, physical planning, land survey and customary land.
Championing this effort is ILC member LandNet Malawi, who celebrating the long awaited reforms, said in a public statement that they have the “potential to solve the majority of the land problems of the voiceless and powerless who have waited for legal direction since 1995”. LandNet Malawi’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Mlaka commends key elements of the reform on pushing forward people-centred land governance, by recognising individual customary land titles; promoting inclusive and participatory consultation processes; and establishing land tribunals at the local level to give land users direct access to justice. Mr. Mlaka also praises the new land laws for their potential to prevent tenure disputes and conflict; corruption; and protect community members against the expropriation of large scale land-based investments.
Facing mixed reactions and dissenting views from some civil society organisations and traditional leaders, LandNet played an instrumental role by working with Oxfam, as well as the Ministers of Lands, Information and Local Government officials to advocate and raise awareness of the benefits of the reforms. This collaborative effort led to an official meeting with the President on August 30th and helped to reduce any reluctance on his part, resulting in his signing of the bills.
LandNet is now looking forward to the Parliament approving the remaining six land-related bills, in particular the Land Registry Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill.
With the support of Malawi's National Engagement Strategy, LandNet and other ILC members are able to connect with different actors and mobilise action at the country level, and in this case, influence the Government in passing these anticipated and much needed "pro-poor, gender sensitive, land laws" .
ILC congratulates LandNet for their tireless and continuous work towards what can only be seen as a positive and reassuring outcome for the future of land governance in Malawi.
For more information on ILC's work at the country level, see HERE.
(The community of Matanda in the Peri-urban area of Lilongwe, Malawi photo by khym54)