Land laws under scrutiny
The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has called for simplification of land laws for users to easily understand them.
MLS President Patrick Mpaka made the remarks during a workshop organised by the society, Ministry of Lands and Malawi Institution of Legal Education.
Mpaka said the law does not exist for its own sake but rather for people and that, as such, it must be crafted in a manner that is applicable and understandable to all.
“The law must be very clear and predictable. Anyone must look at the law and know what is right and what is wrong. When there is that stability, even investors will know what to do. That is why I was saying the law must be very clear, fair and predictable.
“This workshop is important to us because we, as MLS, have the mandate to guide [the citizenry] on matters of law but technocrats from the ministry have had real hands-on experience on the laws that were passed. This training has attracted about 150 lawyers and, so, this means a lot of lawyers will have knowledge on this,” he said.
Ministry of Agriculture Principal Secretary responsible for Technical Services Kwame Ngwira said the workshop would help people appreciate laws being used in the country.
“My ministry is aware that, just like in any other law review process, there are some interest groups who think that their interests have not been adequately addressed in the land laws review process.
“However, the land laws review process received overwhelming input from Malawians, most of whom pointed to the need to address [problems such as] landlessness and concentration of land in the hands of few people. They also pointed to the need to simplify the process of granting customary estates,” he said.
The amended land-related laws became effective on July 1 2022 and, among other things, stipulate that land shall not be granted or sold to a person who is not a citizen of Malawi— unless it is for investments purposes— and that no person is allowed to sell vacant/ undeveloped leasehold or freehold land.