08 Mar 2018
Governance, Policy & Institutional Strengthening
Posted08 Mar 2018
At the age of 60, Ibrahim Ng’wala a husband of six wives with 17 children has lived his entire life in the village known as Nyange. This village is located nearby the famous Kilombero Sugar Company Limited in Kilombero district, Morogoro Region.
Within this village, marriage is a symbol of economic success – particularly multiple marriages. It is common for people who are economically stable to marry more than one wife. Those less well-off will instead pursue a monogamous marriage for economic stability.
Mr. Ngwala has succeeded to provide for his entire family by solely depending on farming as his main source of income. Before land registration, he owned 21 land parcels, totalling over 81 acres, that he has used to cultivate sugar cane and rice.
In Nyange, like so many other Tanzanian villages, land ownership is traditionally passed on from one male to another without title deeds or written wills. Mr. Ng’wala worries his descendants could start fighting over his estate when he dies.
On June 2016, a team from the Land Tenure Support Programme arrived at this village. Mr. Ngwala didn’t take them seriously at first, to him they were just like any other government officials who wanted to intervene with his land ownership. Still he decided to show up and listen to what they had to say.
The team discussed the benefits of land registration with Mr Ngwala and other village community members, including advising on options for land registration and inheritance planning as well as promoting an understanding of land rights for all, including men, women, youth, disabled, pastoralists and children. Mr. Ng’wala realized that he could subdivide his land to each of his family members and formally register and acquire title deeds for each land parcel. This would remove his concerns about future conflicts over his land.
“No villager or any other member of my family should claim any of the surveyed plots that do not belong to them. I have given each of my 17 kids portions of fields, and the same to my wives, and my relatives are all satisfied with the decisions I have made,” Mr Ng’wala said, explaining that such conflicts had caused endless hatred and even death to some of his neighbors.
“Now that we are in cultivating season, each member of my family is happy because they have full control to decide on their land on what they can grow over the land and the income from their produce, taking loans from banks etc.” remarked Mr. Ng’wala.
The knowledge he obtained made him realize that titles will enable him to improve his income by having a recognizable title, also qualifying him for a loan from the bank should he wish to expand his farming practices. Subdividing and titling his land will also address his worries about the land conflicts that were bound to happen when he passes on.
Statistics show that in Nyange village, whilst 49 percent of women own farms, this percentage includes those with joint land ownership with their husbands as well as individual farms. This percentage is increasing as a result of the awareness raising of the Land Tenure Support Programme.
Photo caption: Mr Ng’wala’s compound where four of his wives live.