Whose Security? Deepening Social Conflict over ‘Customary’ Land in the Shadow of Land Tenure Reform in Malawi | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
March 2007
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
mokoro:5671

Malawi, like other countries in Africa, has a new land policy designed to clarify and formalise customary tenure. The country is poor with a high population density, highly dependent on agriculture, and the research sites are matrilineal-matrilocal, and near urban centres. But the case raises issues relevant to land tenure reform elsewhere: the role of ‘traditional authorities’ or chiefs vis-a-vis the state and ‘community’; variability in types of ‘customary’ tenure; and deepening inequality within rural populations. Even before it is implemented, the pending land policy in Malawi is intensifying competition over land. Discusses this and the increase in rentals and sales; the effects of public debates about the new land policy; a new discourse about ‘original settlers’ and ‘strangers’; and political manoeuvring by chiefs.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Pauline E. Peters
Daimon Kambewa

Corporate Author(s): 

The Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University is a university-wide center that works to advance the understanding of development challenges and offer viable solutions to problems of global poverty. CID is Harvard’s leading research hub focusing on resolving the dilemmas of public policy associated with generating stable, shared, and sustainable prosperity in developing countries. Our ongoing mission is to apply knowledge to and revolutionize the world of development practice.

CID's primary activities and programs seek to:

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Mokoro is pleased to host the ’Land Rights in Africa’ site as a contribution to the land rights dialogue and related debates. This website was created in January 2000 by Robin Palmer, and was originally housed by Oxfam GB, where Robin worked as a Land Rights Adviser. A library of resources on land rights in Africa – with a particular focus on women’s land rights and on the impact of land grabbing in Africa – the portal has been well received by practitioners, researchers and policy makers, and has grown considerably over the years.