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NGOs call for harmonised land policies

SOME non-Government Organization have called on government to come up with land policies that will promote access, control and ownership of land by women. SOME Non-Governmental  Organisations have called on government to come up with land policies that will promote access, control and ownership of land by women.

Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) director, Henry Machina said although most land related policies were gender neutral, they tend to neglect the interest of the disadvantaged in society especially women.

He said there was need to strengthen the capacity of traditional court systems in order to promote equality concerning land rights in Zambia.

“Access to justice is important in the promotion of rights, as we may be aware most of our women are poor and they cannot afford to access justice through the legal channels.  However, if the traditional court systems can be legally recognized and strengthened, women who are at risk of losing their land due to unfair cultural practices can be protected”,  Machina said.

He noted that most women and the vulnerable in society were not aware of the gender policy that entitled them to 30 percent of land leaving the remaining 70 percent for competition by both men and women that are not categorized as vulnerable.

Meanwhile We Effect  representative, Jennifer Sakala said her organisation focuses on empowering women through knowledge in various aspects of life such as land policies.

We Effect (formerly Swedish Cooperative Centre, SCC) is a development cooperation organisation that has acted and worked with a long-term approach since 1958 in order to effect change.

“Most of the victims in land cases are unaware of the policies due to lack of sensitisation and knowledge in their areas of residence,” she said.

And a Gender and Communication activist Lumba Siyanga said the Zambian constitution needed to provide harmonisation of both the customary and statutory laws in relation to land, marriage and inheritance.

Siyanga said this could only be achieved by declaring customs and practices null and void.

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