Rural Women of Chipinge Policy Declaration on Land Rights

Introduction

The community declaration was conceived when, we the Rural Women of Chipinge in Zimbabwe with support from Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD) and Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies ([PLAAS) met in Checheche on 05 October 2021. This declaration makes demands to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to promote women’s access to use, control, own, inherit and transfer their land and natural resources.

Background

‘We, the rural women of Chipinge, present these demands on land rights developed through a consultative process involving representatives of communities and supported by PYCD and PLAAS. All demands presented below were endorsed by participants.’

We demand:

  • An immediate stop on forced removals of locals living on customary land especially women and children by the Chipinge Rural District Council.
  • An immediate stop on forced removals of locals living on customary land especially women and children for sugar plantations by Green Fuel.
  • That discovery of gold and diamond minerals must not lead to arbitrary eviction of land rights holders by ALROSA mining companies.
  • That land allocation must prioritise locals especially women rather than foreigners from overseas.
  • That men and women must enjoy the same land rights.
  • That women must have a clear right to say yes or no to developments on their land.
  • An immediate stop in the use of force and violence by investors which includes slashing down crops, confiscating livestock and beating up residents.
  • An end to corruption bribe and undue influence during investor consultation of local leaders like traditional leaders.
  • A review of investment policies that promote ‘land grabbing’ at the expense of the needs of local farmers.
  • Reduction of high rising land prices.
  • Fair compensation that includes alternative productive land and adequate time for relocation in the case of us saying yes to the state/investors taking land for other uses.
  • That compensation must include women and children and not prioritise just men.
  • Fulfilment of promises by the investors like employment of locals.
  • Adequate information on all investments earmarked for our Chipinge district.
  • 50-50 participation of women in traditional leaders’ committees that govern our land.
  • Inclusion of women as traditional leaders.
  • That investors must respect traditional leaders who preside over customary land.
  • Laws that promote joint and equal ownership of land between husband and wife or wives.
  • Clarity on the land rights that are associated with the joint ownership for all family members including the girl child and single ladies with or without children.
  • Secure land rights for all women including single ladies with or without children that are not undermined by other laws such as marital, family, succession and inheritance laws.
  • Support for existing social practises that strengthen poor women’s easy and cheap access to customary land.
  • Banning of social practices that are biased against equal rights for women to inherit, access, own, use and transfer land.
  • Legal recognition of individuals especially women, families and local communities who have been using the land for at least five years.
  • Residential and cropping fields to be held by the family, where beneficiaries are clearly identified , gender inclusive and the list updated all the time.
  • Accountable governance structures of customary lands that consult citizens especially women.
  • Social service delivery like maternal clinics, water, dip tanks for all including women, youth and people living with disabilities.
  • State grants and accessible loans that can empower women who are financially poor to participate in self-help agricultural developmental projects.
  • Restoration of degraded land and soil, including land affected by drought spells and floods caused by recurrent cyclones like Idai.
  • Communal land rights must belong to the citizens and not to the President or Minister.

Source: Platform for Youth and Community Development

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