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‘Address gender inequalities in land tenure’

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WOMEN should be capacitated to strengthen their land tenure rights amid revelations that gender inequalities were still prevalent in the ownership of one of the means of production, participants said yesterday.

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

The call came at time the economy was heavily reliant on agriculture with a cash crop such as tobacco contributing a huge chunk to Zimbabwe’s foreign currency earnings.

Speaking at the regional dialogue on land and contract farming in Southern Africa, Women and Land in Zimbabwe programme coordinator Norman Munyikwa said the Zimbabwean society was patriarchal and there is need for harmonisation of the legal laws and customary laws.

“Woman should be capacitated to have veto power; to be able to say yes or no on land ownership and in decision making. There is need to strengthen tenure rights for women to use land. Strengthen the women’s rights and institutional capacity to engage in land tenure,” Manyikwa said.

He said Zimbabwe needed to re-establish private property rights and unregulated land markets, saying government must acknowledge that women need land on their own adding that they lose out in divorces.

According to Munyikwa, women have rights to use land, exclude unauthorised people from using that land, define income in the land, protection from illegal expropriation of land and inherit the land.

He said unmarried and married women should be granted title in their own name.

Munyikwa said Statutory Instrument 53 of 2014 advocates a man and woman to co-own land that that is yet to be implemented.

Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies researcher Walter Chambati indicated that Zimbabwe’s land tenure challenges were the same as compared to other regions where farm land were only registered in the husband’s name and women outside the marital institutions faces challenges to acquire farming land.

“Women outside the marital institutions faces challenges to acquire or register land, the procedures are very cumbersome.

Rich people can go on behalf of a woman to register a woman’s land and they come back and displace them.

“But that the other option for woman is to have the land registered by the husband,” he said.

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