Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza recognised on Monday that land disputes are complex matters that require a correlation of efforts by various bodies to solve them.
Speaking at a press conference in the town of Marracuene, at the end of his four day “Open and Inclusive Presidency” in Maputo province, Guebuza said land conflicts could be overcome with the vigilance of the local population, the dedication of government bodies, and the understanding of national and foreign investors.
“This is a problem that has been dragging on for some time, and which changes its nature over time”, he said.
Among the types of problem that have been raised are cases in which two individuals or companies have been granted title to the same piece of land, and cases where investors are granted title, but then do nothing and the land remains idle. The local people have urged the government to end this abuse, and ensure that land currently lying idle can be used for productive purposes in the fight against poverty.
Guebuza admitted that the people want to use the idle land, but have not been able to gain access to it. He insisted that it was not a simple question - “it's not like ‘I want bread and the government gives it to me'. The government has to find ways of solving these problems so that everybody has this bread”.
During his tour of the province, people at his rallies repeatedly complained to Guebuza about land issues. Thus in the city of Matola, citizens complained that land was being “usurped” by rich individuals to build luxury housing complexes. Similar problems were raised in the tourist areas of Macaneta and Ponta de Ouro.
Guebuza was, however, optimistic that the majority of people who hold land titles intend to use the land to produce food and thus to fight against poverty. Complex land problems, he warned, cannot be solved from one day to the next.