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Making National Land Policy inclusive and people-centred

by Marjorie Mbilinyi in 2016

In a recent blog, eight scholars and activists (Emmanuel Sulle et al 24/11/2016 PLAAS) praised the NLP,2016 for its strong statements on ensuring equal rights to land for women and for marginalised groups such as small-scale hunters and gatherers. However, they identifed areas which need improvement, and called for additional consultations at grassroots level, public feedback and commentary.

Very few NGOs were invited to participate in the earlier consultative processes in 2015 and November 2016. Big International NGOs were over-represented, and short notice meant several organisations were unable to attend. This undermines the government’s intent to have an open inclusive process. And as the case of Bagamoyo has shown, gender equality rhetoric is not matched by practical implementation on the ground.

The authors have joined many other commentators, including myself, to urge that the draft policy be translated into Swahili, with more time available for wide consultation. Land is the basis of the livelihoods of a majority of Tanzanian women and men, and they have a right to participate in decision-making about it.