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Friday, 27 September 2019

UNDERSTAND THE LAND TENURE SYSTEM OF TANZANIA




Tanzania is one of the blessed countries in the world. It consists of 948087 sq km.  Most of its land is used for agriculture. The land is one of the important treasures of the world. Although it was created by God but it is absolutely governed by people. The land is a free gift from god. The importance of land in the world cannot be undermined thus it is worth knowing the system of holding land of certain places. Here the land tenure system of Tanzania will be covered

Tanzania is one of the blessed countries in the world. It consists of 948087 sq km.  Most of its land is used for agriculture. The land is one of the important treasures of the world. Although it was created by God but it is absolutely governed by people. The land is a free gift from god. The importance of land in the world cannot be undermined thus it is worth knowing the system of holding land of certain places. Here the land tenure system of Tanzania will be covered

LAND TENURE SYSTEM IN TANZANIA

Meaning of Land Tenure System



The land tenure system refers to a system of holding land. It is how land is held. In Tanzania, the system of holding land passed through different phases. There was a land tenure system before colonialism, land tenure system during colonialism and there is a post-colonial land tenure system.

Land Tenure System before Colonialism

Before colonialism, holding land in Tanzania was based on the customary laws of the different tribes. Pre-colonial societies in Tanganyika had customary ways of acquiring and using the land, mainly land was used for agriculture, hunting, gathering, and grazing. To a larger extent land was communally owned.

Acquisition of Land at Customary Law

By Clearing a virgin land

This was a the common way of acquiring land during that time. When someone brought into cultivation any uncultivated land he is termed to own that land in exclusion of others.

By inheriting

Under customary law, land could also be acquired through inheriting either from the family members or clan, if the head of the family dies and left the land, other members depending on the culture and customs of that society can inherit the land of deceased. Also under customary law, the land can be acquired by gift

By Allocation

One of the ways of acquiring land has been through allocation by the relevant authority. This authority could be the chief, villager headman or chairperson. In most cases such allocation was accompanied by some restrictions which had to be observed by the occupier breach of those conditions may cause the land to be taken by the authority and given to someone else.

  

Land Tenure System during Colonialism

Tanzania was mainly colonized by Germany and later British. Each country had its own laws and policies on land matters.



 During the German era

The main instruments governed land matter during this time was The Imperial Decree of 26th Nov.1895 and 1896 Circular/rules to implement the Decree. During the German era Ownership of land was vested to the emperor and all land was known as crown land.  No individual was allowed to own land except for lands already in private ownership or possession by chiefs or African communities before German colonial rule. Land grants had to be made by the Government only and all transfers of land from an African to a non-African could not be valid without consent from the Governor, this aimed at safeguarding colonial interests. Under the Decree and the Circular, occupation by natives was deemed permissive. Their lands were subject to expropriation for freeholds purposely for the settlers. Transfer of Crown land could be affected through Conveyance of ownership or Lease. Therefore during this era, there were three forms of tenure
  • conveyance of ownership
  • lease 
  • Customary tenure.


During British era

After First World War WW1 Tanganyika (Tanzania) became mandate Territory under the League of Nations and set under British’s supervision.  During this time Land alienated by German was sold as enemy property to British and Very small percentage went to Africans. Alienated land continued to be alienated. German freeholds and leaseholds were retained as British freehold and leases.
The main instrument which governs land matters during this era was The Land Tenure Ordinance (1923). Under this law all lands whether occupied / unoccupied was declared to be public lands and was under the supervision of Governor.
Further, the law introduces the land tenure system is known as ‘right of occupancy’ section 2 of the land Ordinance defines a right of occupancy as a title to the use and occupation of land (granted the right of occupancy) and includes the title of a native or native community lawfully using or occupying land by native law and custom (deemed right of occupancy). However, deemed right of occupancy was not given the same status as granted right of occupancy.

Land Tenure System after colonialism and up to now

After independence, Tanzania took the spirits of the Land Tenure Ordinance (1923) however the word governor was replaced by the word President. Therefore President was vested power over the land and he became a custodian of the land on behalf of all Tanzanians. This applies up to now.

Also, the Government enacted the Freeholds Titles (Conversion) and Government Leases Act No 24/1963, with the aim to convert estates of fee simple into government leases for 99 years effective from 1st July 1964. It could be said that the motive for the Government to enact such law was to assume more control over land as well as being able to regulate and monitor land development.

To date, the main laws which govern land matters in Tanzania are The Land act, No. 4 1999 and the village Lang Act, No. 5 1999. This law provides that all land in Tanzania shall continue to be public land and remain vested in the President as trustee for and on behalf of all the citizens of Tanzania.

Further, they retain the land tenure system established by British which are granted right of occupancy and deemed right of occupancy. Section 2 of the Land, Act provides that a right of occupancy means a title to the use and occupation of land and includes the title of a Tanzanian citizen of African descent or a community of Tanzanian citizens of African descent using or occupying land by customary law; it also defines the deemed right of occupancy as the title of a Tanzanian citizen of African descent or a community of Tanzanian citizens of African descent using or occupying land under and by customary law.

Final Remarks

It is obvious therefore that, in Tanzania, individuals do not own land rather interests in land or term of years, mostly 99 years when expire you have to renew. An interest in land has value, and such value must be taken into account in a land transaction. Also, fair compensation has to be paid to any person whose right of occupancy has been revoked or in any way interfered with.

The following are other legal issues you may like to know in Tanzania. You may read;






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