This paper presents the empirical findings of a research study undertaken in the Western Province of Zambia. The principal objective was to explore if the issuance of land ownership certificates (LOCs) improves the customary landholders’ perceptions of security of tenure. Thus, we test a null hypothesis that: ‘There are no significant differences in the perceived security of tenure between customary landholders with land ownership certificates and customary landholders without land ownership certificates’. A survey was undertaken of customary landholders and land administration officials using structured in-depth interviews and group discussions. The research used a mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches where the views of customary landholders with certificates were compared with those with none based on a security of tenure assessment framework. It was revealed that the land ownership certificates (LOCs) provide the customary landholders with a perceived protection from losing land rights. However, the LOC does not improve other perceptions of customary landholders towards tenure security. In fact most of the perceptions of customary landholders with land ownership certificates are statistically not any different from the others. All customary landholders perceive their tenure as secured under the customary land administration in Western Province. The paper concludes by stating that the absence of a legal recognition renders the LOC insignificant in enhancing the perceived security of tenure. Legal recognition of the customary land administration system in Western Province of Zambia is therefore recommended.
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