Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Atupele Muluzi Friday said traditional leaders in the country have powers on their land.
Speaking in Lilongwe during the land bill meeting with Paramount and Senior Chiefs from Central Region, Muluzi said the land bill which has now been ascended into a law has given chiefs power over their land.
“At first the land was owned by the president, so it was difficult for tradition leaders to have control over it. When people want to lease land government was just putting the signature without knowing that the land is used for settlement,” explained Muluzi.
He then dismissed information that the owners of the land would pay tax over their land, but said owners can register their land to have proper documents to protect it.
Muluzi further said once the land has been leased the owners would be benefiting from it as proper compensation would be given to them whenever government wants to develop the land.
Speaking earlier Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Patricia Kaliati said community development is all about the land and with Chiefs empowerment land cases would be minimized.
She added that the land law would also empower women through the committees that would be elected in the communities being headed by the group village headmen and any issues concerning the land would be resolved by the committee before reaching senior chiefs.
Kaliati then advised women and single ladies to register their land in their names so that they have full ownership over it.
“Women have been complaining that they are always victims of land as men register through their names, but now if they acquire land before marriage and they registered it men would not take control over it,” she said.
She also said children would also have powers over the land been owned by their parents once they registered it through their names.
Kaliati promised that her ministry would develop implementation plans to make sure that the right information on land law has reached all Malawians.
Representative of Inkosi ya Makosi Goman v, Inkosazana Rosemary Malinki who spoke on behalf of all the chiefs in central region said they are happy that they have been given powers over their land and would be able to take full control over it and know how much land they have.
Similar meetings were also conducted in all the three regions. The land bill was first been presented in 1986, in 1996 they instituted Presidential Commission for land and in 1992 the president delegated Minister of land to be signing documents on land.
The land bill was passed in parliament in July 2016.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA