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THE QUESTION OF LAND VALUE IN TANZANIA By PrayGod Manase The independence of Tanzania in 1961 marked a turning point in the

political and economic set up of the country. However for matters related to land tenure, there were minor changes; all the independence government did was a little replacement of words, the word governor in the land ordinance was replaced with President and hence retaining the colonial land tenure system. Basically, the independence government never managed to have an elaborate policy in respect of land tenure. Following this, it has for a long time been the public policy in Tanzania that land has no value unless developed. This is a policy that was inherited from the colonial era, where African holding of land was seen in terms of usufruct. This concept was embedded in compensation laws that limited the value of land, when land was acquired by the government, to the value of unexhausted improvements on the land in question. However, due to land conflicts and persistent criticism from various parts of the country, the government made a decision to investigate on land matters and come up with a national land policy which was achieved by the Shivji commission of 1990s which brought into life the Tanzania land policy of 1995 and the land acts no 4 and no. 5 of 1999.

The 1995 Tanzania land policy and the Land Acts no 4 and 5 of 1999, inter alia, established that all land in Tanzania belongs to the state. However, land can be owned through Government granted right of occupancy, customary right of occupancy or through derivative rights. Rights of occupancy and derivative rights are granted for a short term and long-term period. It is further a policy that non citizens cannot be allocated or granted land in Tanzania unless it is for investment purposes. THE QUESTION OF VALUE The land policy of 1995 and the Land Act of 1999 as per section 3(f) provide that an interest in land has value and such value should be taken into consideration in any transaction affecting that interest. However Section 20(3) of the Land Act provided that land which was acquired before the enactment of the act shall be deemed to have no value; this meant that sale of such land would be impossible as it was further provided for under section 37(8) that no sale of land without unexhausted improvements would be approved. In other words this meant that bare land had no value and could not be disposed, as attempting to do so would invite revocation to the ownership to the potential seller, for failure to develop. The effects of such a provision were far reaching as it did not only deny owners of land the right to dispose it but also denied them recognizing it as a property. Hence bare land could neither be used as a Page 1 of 3

trade item nor collateral and those who had no capacity to develop their land had nothing to do with it but wait for their rights of occupancy to be revoked. THE 2004 LAND LAW AMENDMENTS The 2004 land amendments renders the aforementioned position a history now as after the amendments to the Land Act (2004) it is now permissible to sale bare land. This brought the land policy into conformity with the ideas of Hernando de sotto where he said, the major stumbling block that keeps the rest of the world from benefiting from capitalism is its inability to produce Capital. Capital is the force that raises the productivity of labor and creates the wealth of nations. Hence this policy was designed to enable those without the capacity to develop their land to sell it and use the money as capital to invest in other areas. THE DISCREPANCY However, land granted to a foreigner for investment purposes under (derivative rights) is still considered as having no value as a foreigner cannot dispose that land at any time and the revisionary rights are vested in the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) as per section 20(5) of the land act. In addition to that lands acquired by foreigners before the enactment of the Land Act remain valueless as the same 2004 amendments which gave value to

bare lands, provide that land acquired by foreigners before the enactment of the act shall have no value except for unexhausted improvements. It is inconceivable as to why one bare piece of land is should have value and another bare piece of land be short of it. It is wise and easy to think that the intention of the legislators was to ensure the protection of our valuable land; however the tactic employed is likely to cause greater harm as it would incite a non citizen to pass over the land to another person illegally rather than surrendering it to the government. Further such a policy is a contradiction of the provisions of the constitution as per article 13(1) which stipulate that, All people are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination, to protection and equality before the law. The constitution under Article 13(6) proceeds to elaborate what is meant by discrimination and puts it very clear that, to discriminate involves satisfying the needs, rights or requirements of different persons on the basis of their nationality, tribe place of origin political opinion, color, religion or station in life. Hence what is prohibited by the constitution as being discriminatory is the very same that is created by Section 20(3) of the Land Act as per the 2004 amendments as it is crystal Page 2 of 3

clear that one piece of land owned by a Tanzanian citizen would be considered as having value and a piece of land next to it owned by a non citizen would be valueless! A policy to secure land should be one that is fair to every holder of a right of occupancy regardless of the nationality provided he /she owns it legally. A policy to safeguard the interests of the state and its citizens in itself is a policy which is generally accepted and it is practiced in different jurisdictions, however such a policy should be fair and one that maintains equality. For

instance, a policy which recognizes all land as having value even that owned by foreigners but restricting the transfer of such value beyond the territory would be ideal. This means that whenever land is disposed by a non citizen its value would be retained in the country creating more capital. As it has always been the tradition of our legislature to review our laws and amend incongruous and unconstitutional provisions, It is hereby submitted that it is high time that it deliberates on the said provisions and cure the mischief. STATUTES

REFERENCES; BOOKS De Soto, Hernando. The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. Basic Books, 2000 REPORTS Report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters Volume 1. J. M. Lusugga Kironde,(2000) Understanding land markets in African urban areas: the case of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Habitat International.

The constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977 (as amended.) The Land Act 1999 The Village Land act 1999 The Written Laws Miscellaneous Amendments 2004. POLICY The Tanzania Land Policy 1995

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