Gender and Land Rights Database

Malawi

Traditional authorities and customary institutions

 

Traditional Authorities act as custodians of the cultural and traditional values of the community. They have the control of customary land ensuring that authority over land is passed in succession from one generation to another. They also perform a semi-judicial function settling customary disputes over land. Finally, they lead development initiatives and act as chairpersons of Area Development Committees (ADCs). In fact they exercise a lot of influence over their constituents mobilizing the people to participate in the developmental activities (20).

Due to the fact that little new land is available for distribution, family heads have largely taken over chief’s traditional role in land allocation, as family holdings are being fragmented to accommodate new families (20).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography