The national rollout of t h e customary land adjudication, registration and demarcation exercise awaits a review of land laws, a Ministry of Lands official has said.
The government has been piloting the Customary Land Act in eight districts of Karonga and Rumphi in the Northern Region, Nkhotakota, Mchinji and Kasungu in the Central Region and the Southern Region districts of Phalombe, Chikwawa and Nsanje.
In October last year, President Lazarus Chakwera ordered the finalisation of pilot projects to pave the way for experts to review challenges faced in the pilot phase of the demarcation exercise and, if necessary, make required amendments.
The pilot phase has seen thousands of customary land holders registering their land and receiving certificates of ownership from the government.
Geographic Information System and Land Surveying Specialist Masida Mbano said much of the work had been finalised. He said this when he visited Chikwawa and Nsanje districts on Monday, when he observed land parcel owners verify names which were publicly displayed.
The new land laws were being piloted in Nsanje and Chikwawa districts under the Agricultural Commercialisation Project, which seeks to help small and medium scale farmers embrace commercialisation.
“For now, we cannot say much. Otherwise, a land law review team has already been set to review the law, including experiences on the ground, and make recommendations for possible review in Parliament,” Mbano said.
In Chikwawa alone, at least 3,000 parcels of land have been adjudicated, registered and demarcated in the area of Group Village Head Chizenga, Traditional Authority Ngabu.
“We are no longer distressed. This exercise has helped us, traditional leaders, because we are now saved from the stress associated with settling land disputes,” Chizenga said.
Public displays and verification of land owners’ names are requirements under the Customary Land Act.
Eric Msikiti is a Senior Reporter/News Producer at Times Group. Though relatively young, Eric boasts years of experience in Malawi’s media industry.