Government has defended the newly passed Customary Land Bill which will see poor Malawians paying for the land they inherited from their ancestors, saying the bill is not there to remove powers of the chiefs.

Monday this week, human right activist Billy Mayaya organized demonstrations in the capital Lilongwe against the bill on reasons that it will remove powers of the powers of the chiefs.

Mayaya also claimed that the bill was done without proper consultation from concerned citizens in the country especially those people in the village.
He then asked President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika not to assent the bill into law.

But Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi dismissed the allegations, saying that the objectives of the bill is to promote tenure reforms that guarantee security of tenure and instill confidence and fairness in land transaction as well as promoting decentralized and transparent land administrations.

Muluzi said the bill provide tenure security in the sense that the land will be registered as private to an individual through creation of customary estates.

“The bill creates an enabling environment for investment as it enables land to be transacted as real product/goo within a well regulated framework. This will in turn enable land owners to get market price/value for the product.

“The bill will also provide for social protection and development of venerable groups as it provides for safeguarding the land rights of venerable groups especially women by providing for registration of their land rights among others,” he said.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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