7 December 2012

Tanzania: Solving Land Disputes Not Preserve of Govt - Tibaijuka

THE Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Prof Anna Tibaijuka, has challenged citizens to eradicate the assumption that solutions to all land problems in the country lie squarely with the executive arm of the government.

Prof Tibaijuka made the remarks while launching a book written by Abdon Rwegasira, who is an assistant lecturer at the University of Dar es salaam's School of Law, entitled: "Land as a Human Right" penned to educate the Tanzanian society on their land rights.

Prof Tibaijuka said that there are some people who accuse the government of not taking the required urgency to address land problems with a view of eliminating them, however, they don't understand other issues have nothing to deal with her ministry directly.

"Every day I receive some 300 emails wanting me somewhere to resolve land cases while other cases are not required to be presented to us initially, for example, the issue of trespassing should be first reported to the police not the ministry," she said.

She noted that the book will help citizens to understand that solution to land problems does not lie in the government alone; it requires active responsibility of the government and other stakeholders including individuals. Speaking about the constitutional making process, Prof Tibaijuka emphasized that the coming new constitution should also give women power to own land as it is their basic right.

"The new constitution should give women right to own land as in my view the land question is one of the salient issues which deserves your special attention. This is our time Tanzanians to decide how best the new constitution can guarantee land rights," she said.

A special delegate of Constitutional Review Board, Maria Kashonda, said that up to the moment everywhere she has passed to collect opinions for the new constitution; land has been the most discussed issue. She noted that the issue of land is cracking Tanzanian heads especially women who are facing several obligations in their right to inherit and own land.

In supporting the minister's remarks, she said, "Women need to be involved in the coming constitution to eradicate some land conflicts." The author of the book, Mr Rwegasira said that the book will benefit Tanzanians and give them awareness on issues concerning land, as there are no locally produced books on the subject in the country.

"Famous books written in Tanzania are: A customary land law of Tanzania written in 1973 and Essays in land law of 1986 both of them written by Prof Gamaliel Fimbo," he said, adding that the book will help the society as it gives a history of land law and practice in Tanzania.

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