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Base de Datos Género y Derecho a la Tierra


Tenencia de la tierra- formas predominantes

  • The country has four main systems of land tenure: the freehold land that is private, State land, communal and leasehold resettlement systems. With the exception of the resettlement tenure system, the other three systems are largely part of the country’s colonial heritage.
  • The freehold tenure system is prevalent in the commercial farming sector, which consists of large-scale and small-scale commercial farm that occupy about 32 percent of the country’s land area of 39 million ha. This sector is characterized by individual land ownership. The registered land owner has exclusive property rights and full control and responsibility over the land and everything attached to it, except to the extent that ownership and exclusive control over the land and some natural resources may be limited by statutory provisions. Such limitations relate to changes in land use, controls over public water courses, felling of indigenous timber resources and controls on wildlife. 
  • The communal land tenure system is governed by the Communal Land Act of 1983 and applies to 42 percent of the land area, where approximately 66 percent of the country’s population resides. According to the Communal Lands Act, all communal land is vested in the State President who has powers to permit its occupation and use in accordance with the Act. Communal area inhabitants thus have usufructuary rights over land. Rural District Councils have a dispensation to allocate land to qualified persons on behalf of the State. 
  • Resettlement areas cover 10 percent of the country. They have no title and are a product of the post-independence period which aimed to relieve population pressure in communal areas (28).
  • The Lancaster House Agreement envisaged special protections for white citizens for the first ten years of independence. The Agreement stipulated that the Government would not engage in any compulsory land acquisition and that when land was acquired the Government would “pay promptly adequate compensation” for the property. Land distribution would take place in terms of “willing buyer, willing seller.” 
  • In 1990, released from the constraints of the Lancaster House Agreement, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) Government amended the provisions of the Constitution concerning property rights. Compulsory acquisition of land for redistribution and resettlement became possible. 
  • In 1992, the Land Acquisition Act also gave the Government strengthened powers to acquire land for resettlement, subject to the payment of “fair” compensation fixed by a committee of six persons using set guidelines, including powers to limit the size of farms and introduce a land tax. 
  • Despite the new laws, the Government’s land acquisition and resettlement slowed down. By the end of what became known as “Phase One” of the land reform and resettlement programme in 1997, the Government had resettled 71 000 families − against a target of 162 000 − on almost 3.5 million hectares of land. Only 19 percent of this was classed as prime land; the rest was either marginal or unsuitable for grazing or cultivation. By 1999, 11 million hectares of the richest land were still in the hands of about 4 500 commercial farmers, the great majority of them white. Moreover, some farms purchased for redistribution had, in fact, been given to government ministers and other senior officials rather than to the landless peasantry (15).
  • To address the land tenure question, the Government set up a Land Tenure Commission in 1994 to, among other things, review the current land tenure systems and make appropriate recommendations; these were collected in 1995 in the Land Tenure Commission Report. However, some of the key recommendations related to the communal land tenure system have not yet been implemented (28).
  • An official government commission was set up in 1999 to rewrite the Constitution and a Draft Constitution was submitted to a national referendum in February 2000 as a result of the demand for Constitutional reform (16). 
  • Following the rejection of the Draft Constitution, land occupations increased. In response to that, in April 2000, the Government embarked on an accelerated resettlement land occupations programme named Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) to redistribute land. The reform was legitimized through constitutional and legal provisions (15).
  • After implementing the FTLRP, the Government was able to acquire and redistribute 11 million hectares as of 2006 (15).

Instituciones nacionales y locales que ejecutan las disposiciones jurídicas sobre la tierra

  • The Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Settlement:
    - Its role is “to acquire, plan, demarcate, equitably redistribute and manage rural land and infrastructural development to achieve social-economic development and optimize land utilization”.

    - Main functions include: land acquisition, valuation and transfer, undertaking land acquisition and transfer, resettlement, estate management, planning and demarcation, land information and management systems and finance and administration (29).
  • The Ministry of Agriculture:

    - Its role is “to promote and sustain a viable agricultural sector and to develop and manage land resources through the provision of appropriate technical, administrative and advisory services” in order to optimize administration and contribute to equitable and sustainable social and economic development (29).
  • The Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA):
    - Established by the 1971 Agricultural and Rural Development Authority Act; operates under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture (29).
  • The functions and duties of the Authority are to:
    a) plan, coordinate, implement, promote and assist agricultural development in the country;
    b) prepare and, with the agreement of the Minister, implement schemes for the betterment of agriculture in any part of the country;
    c) plan, promote, coordinate and carry out schemes for the development, exploitation, utilization, settlement or disposition of State land (24).
  • The National Land Identification Committee:
    - Coordinates the identification of land for compulsory acquisition under the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP).
    - It is chaired by the Vice-President’s office. Four ministries are officially involved: Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement; Local Government, Public Works and National Housing; Rural Resources and Water Development; and Environment and Tourism (16).
  • The Provincial Land Identification Committees:

    - Coordinate implementation of the FTLRP, while a technical committee evaluates applications.
    - Chaired by the Provincial Administrator. This structure is duplicated at the district level, where committees are chaired by the District Administrator. Representatives of the Rural District Councils, traditional leaders, and the War Veterans Association are all members of these committees (16).

Instituciones de administración de la tierra y cuotas para la mujer

  • There are multiple providers of land administration services and most of these institutions operate in a top-down mode. Key players include: the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement, local authorities, traditional leaders, war veterans, representatives of the ruling party and land identification and local government committees. The role of each of these political and administrative structures is often not clearly defined for themselves and each other. 
  • Local land identification committees are intended to bring together all stakeholders in land administration; however, these committees have overwhelming central government representation. 
  • The Department of Lands has been established but transferring relevant land administration duties from other ministries to it is still taking place (27).
  • The National Land Identification Committee, chaired by the Vice-President’s office, coordinates the identification of land for compulsory acquisition under the fast track process. Four ministries are officially involved: Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement; Local Government, Public Works and National Housing; Rural Resources and Water Development; and Environment and Tourism. 
  • Provincial Land Identification Committees, chaired by the Provincial Administrator, coordinate implementation; a technical committee evaluates applications. This structure is duplicated at the district level, where committees are chaired by the District Administrator. Representatives of the Rural District Councils, traditional leaders, and the War Veterans Association are all members of these committees. African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) chairmen are also represented from the local to the national level. Farm owners can appeal to the Provincial Land Identification Committees if they believe that official criteria are not being followed and can negotiate modifications to the acquisition process (16).
  • Under the Traditional Leaders Act of 1998, Chiefs, Headmen and Village Heads are appointed as officers. These local officers have a wide range of powers in local administration regarding, among other things, grazing, allocation of communal land and communal land use, irrigation and use of natural resources (24). In 2000, traditional leaders were put on the central government payroll; this has led to them playing an increasingly active role in land administration. However, power and authority for land administration remains vested with the central State, as the owner of all communal and most resettlement land (27).
  • The lowest formal local government grassroots institution is the Village Development Committee (VIDCO), which consists of democratically elected members. The main functions of the VIDCOs include land allocation and rural development activities, which were once spearheaded by traditional leaders. Women’s participation and representation in Village Development Committees is very minimal. 
  • Moving upwards from the village to the province, the governance structure includes Village Development Committees, Ward Development Committees (WADCOs), District Development Committees (DDCOs) and Provincial Development Committees (PDCOs). 
  • The Rural District Councils (RDCs) were established in 1993, under the Rural District Councils Act of 1987, to provide local services to communities within their areas of jurisdiction. RDCs are third-tier institutions in the country, lying below the national and provincial levels of government. However, they are the most significant and critical institutions for development from below. Women’s representation at the district level also is very low (28).

Disposiciones de financiamiento que garantizan a la mujer transacciones de tierras

  • No law prohibits women from acquiring loans from banks or other financial institutions. Single and married women can, according to law, procure loans from financial institutions to purchase houses or other forms of property or for business. However, financial institutions are not always willing to grant credit to a woman without asking for the husband’s assistance. Some institutions still insist on the husband’s involvement. Moreover, few women have the requisite collateral (7).
  • In 1988, a credit scheme was created by the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), with support from the Ministry of Community Development and Women’s Affairs, to target women farmers. Although the AFC did not have quotas for women, 60 percent of women from the smallholder sector benefited from the group lending scheme (7).

Otros factores que influyen en los derechos a la tierra diferenciados por género

  • Security of tenure in relation to private, communal and resettlement land has not been identified as a crucial issue in the 1980s programme nor under the fast track reform of 2000. There is no legislation in place to secure the rights of beneficiaries in relation to distribution and participation (17).
  • Because women are not regarded as having title to land, women remain vulnerable to men who exploit their labour in the communal or resettlement areas (6).
  • Women often face discrimination from judges who, in the instances of divorce, consider women’s indirect contributions, such as home making, child rearing or child care, as being less important than contributions in cash; this leads to unequal distribution of marital property (14).
  • Women refrain from taking legal action regarding inheritance because of lack of support from judicial institutions and the relatives of the deceased husband, whose consent is needed for confirmation of unregistered unions and birth registration (26).

Fuentes: los números entre paréntesis (*) se refieren a las fuentes que están en la sección de Bibliografía