Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development says the new Land Act will benefit Malawians.
Speaking during a sensitisation meeting for district commissioners (DCs) and directors of planning and development (DPDs) held in Blantyre, the ministry’s Principal Secretary Janet Banda said the new law safeguards the rights of Malawians to own land in the country.
She said the Land Act also provides for women’s land rights because they are the biggest agricultural producers but are the least when it comes to land ownership.
Said Banda: “These new land laws are providing social protection and social development, including safeguarding the land rights of vulnerable groups, especially women. The law is ensuring equitable access to land, tenure security and sustainable socio economic development.”
The ministry said it organised the meeting to engage the controlling officers in the local government councils on the new provisions introduced by the new laws in terms of land governance and administrative arrangements.
On the issue of foreigners being favoured over Malawians when it comes to sales of land by government, Zomba City Council chief executive officer Dyson Jangiya said the new Land Act ensures that the citizens are given access to buy land first .
Currently, foreigners can obtain freehold land on a provision that the land is first offered to Malawian and only when no citizen comes forward to buy it at the published price.
The new Land Act stirred controversy in 2016 after some traditional leaders, who have traditionally been custodians of land, felt the laws usurped their powers. n