8 November 2017

Mozambique: Nyusi Calls for Reducing Land Disputes

Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday called for a drive to reduce the large number of land disputes occurring across the country.

Speaking at the opening ceremony in Maputo of the Land Consultation Forum, Nyusi stressed the importance of protecting the land and ensuring that land is not sold or otherwise alienated. Under the Mozambican constitution all property in land vests in the state.

“The land belongs to the State and must not be sold or mortgaged”, declared Nyusi. The fact that land is national, and not private, property, he argued, showed that Mozambicans are determined to value the land which in the past was torn from them by the Portuguese colonial occupiers.

By defending state ownership of land, “we are protecting one of the most valuable parts of the inheritance left by those who liberated the county”, he said. “It is the reason why the younger generations will still find land that they can benefit from”.

The current land law, he added, preserves the fundamental rights of citizens and contributes to the generation of income for Mozambican households.

“National unity, peace and development also rest on our collective understanding about how we manage the land”, said Nyusi. “In this cycle of governance, we have taken the rational management of land as a crucial priority”.

All participants in the Land Forum, he urged, should reflect on how to promote private investment, using the land in a sustainable and profitable manner, but at the same time safeguarding the land law and the interests of rural communities.

Nyusi called for a debate on improving the system for taxing those who use the land, based on the amount of land they use and the uses to which it is put.

The President recalled that in early 2015 he had launched the “Terra Segura” (“Secure Land”) project, intended to regularise the occupation of land by rural communities, by issuing five million land titles (known as DUATs). He believed that since then progress has been made in demarcating the land occupied by communities and ensuring that women as well as men benefit from land allocation.

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