Land-related bills assented

The President of the Republic of Malawi Dr Lazarus Chakwera in May 2022 assented to six land-related bills. These pieces of legislation will help address challenges the country has been facing with land management.

The SVTP supported the drafting of the amended bills and related processes. The amended bills recently passed by Members of Parliament during the fifth meeting of the 49th session of Parliament include Land (Amendment), Land Survey (Amendment), Physical Planning (Amendment), Customary Land (Amendment), Land Acquisition and Compensation (Amendment), and Registered Land (Amendment). 

The project has been piloting some provisions of the bills through the Ministry of Lands since September 2020. Specifically, the project has been conducting a land adjudication and demarcation exercise in Chikwawa to secure land for project beneficiaries. The exercise is aimed at ascertaining land ownership and establishing boundaries for landowners. 45,833 land parcels covering 22,299 hectares have been adjudicated and demarcated for 48,175 landowners in Chikwawa district.  

Legislations will greatly assist with development planning.

Mbano: Laws will bring sanity to land management

Deputy Surveyor General in the Ministry of Lands, Masida Mbano, said the bills will bring sanity to the way land is managed in the country.

“These important pieces of legislation will greatly assist with development planning. For example, the Customary Land Act the President has assented to gives people power to own land. People will receive certificates as evidence of land ownership through the land parcel adjudication and demarcation exercise. In the case of the Shire Valley, this will ease the process of land consolidation in readiness for commercial irrigation farming. Landowners will use their land as holding capital for their farming business,” he said.

There have been a lot of land-related disputes across the country because of the lack of tangible evidence of land ownership and the existence of clear boundaries. The implementation of the systematic adjudication and demarcation exercise across the country will secure land for the citizenry as landowners will be given documentation as evidence of ownership.  

“When a person registers land, they have confidence to develop that particular piece of land. Certification of land ownership gives people assurance that no one can grab that land,” Mbano added.

The Ministry of Lands has facilitated the establishment of 38 Customary Land Committees (CLCs) in the SVTP Phase 1 area to resolve land disputes in locations where they occur. In the past, land disputes could be resolved at the courts without all witnesses physically present. A Physical Development Plan and associated local land use plans were developed for Chikwawa and launched. All CLCs have been trained on land use plans and these have been linked to the Village Action Plans (VAPS) for easy monitoring by M&E and Community Development Teams at the District level. Chikwawa Boma and Nchalo Urban Structure Plans were finalized and consultations were done with communities and other stakeholders at the district level. The programme is in the process of finalizing the Ngabu Urban Structure Plan.