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Monday, 26 September 2011

Tanzania: Administration of land law rampant with corruption.

 

 

Anna Tibaijuka

The minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development

“Chronic lack of respect for laws, rules and regulations”

 

Tanzania News - The Citizen

Govt issues new rules to guide land allocation
Monday, 26 September 2011 23:39

B Songa wa Songa,
The Citizen Correspondent

Dar es Salaam. The minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development Prof Anna Tibaijuka yesterday outlined strategies she intends to use as part of efforts to cleanse her ministry.Opening a three-day land stakeholders conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Prof Tibaijuka said the ministry faces a daunting task of cleaning up its image that has been tarnished by corruption and endless land disputes.She said the fact that hers was now being referred to as ‘the ministry of disputes’ by wananchi, was a loud wake up call to all employees under her wing, to do their best and clean the mess.

The land stakeholders’ meeting, which takes place every two years, has brought together officials from the ministry headquarters, regional and district bureaus as well as private sector representatives.Lands officers, valuers, registrars, town planners and district lands and housing tribunal chairpersons followed attentively as the tough-talking minister said it like it is.

“Constant denial will not help. Everyone of us here today must undertake honest self-evaluation to find out their contribution to the mess we are in,” she said.
Prof Tibaijuka said apart from dealing with ‘land fraudsters’, the ministry’s other priorities include making land an economic capital, which would in turn become one of the country’s major means of production. She noted that the bigger problem facing her ministry was the chronic lack of respect for laws, rules and regulations, adding that if everybody stuck to the professional code of conduct, Tanzanians - the clients - would have enjoyed better services and the image would have been positive and enviable.

“If you receive an order which is inconsistent with the law, reject it even if it comes from above. You must learn to guide your superiors through professionalism, don’t just say ‘Yes, sir’ to everything” she cautioned.
She said that in a bid to end conflicts between villagers and investors, the ministry has devised a system whereby village land will not be allocated to an investor until local representatives were made aware and play a part in signing the necessary documents.

“Councillors and MPs should attend all the meetings in which plans to offer land to an investor are discussed. They should comply with the plans before any deal is signed,” she insisted.Prof Tibaijuka also talked about the thorny issue of grabbed open spaces and warned the culpable that their “medicine” was on the way; adding that the wise should vacate voluntarily.

“We are set to issue public notice on demarcation of open spaces. No one will have a title deed for an open space and all such ill-acquired lands will be recovered,” she said

Land for investors – another area of controversy and complaints – was also touched by the minister who made a name for herself recently by presiding over flattening of ill-gotten and illegally built structures at Palm Beach and Ocean Road areas in Dar es Salaam.

Giving her general evaluation, the minister said although her ministry had some of the most hardworking and dependable workers in the country, certain unscrupulous employees had chosen the path of selfishness which has led to unfair blanket judgment to the effect that all of them are corrupt.

Prof Tibaijuka, who has occupied the ministerial seat for less than a year, pointed out poor filing of lands and settlement documents as one of the weaknesses the ministry had to address. Next to it, she said was poor government levy returns from the municipalities on which she had good news. “It has been agreed that 30 per cent of levies will be retained in your municipalities instead of the current 20 per cent,” she said.

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