Recently, new community-level institutions have emerged in Zambézia province, Mozambique, through land rights registration. Numerous rural groups have delimited their acquired land rights and established community-level management systems. This paper assesses the rise of these ‘new’ institutions and whether they have replicated, replaced, or been added on to the existing pattern of state and nonstate institutions and processes.The new communities have registered large swathes of land, but have had had a limited impact on development processes. They are not yet recognised by the state as legitimate actors in planning land and resource use, adjudicating disputes, or allocating rights. Existing traditional authorities and/or local government have largely maintained their roles and legitimacy, even in areas with new institutions.The authors conclude that new community groups face a dual challenge: from a state reluctant to deal with implications of devolution, and from their own constituents familiar with and respectful of traditional mechanisms. [Authors' abstract]
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