CCROs for Integrating Customary Land Registration and Ownership into Statutory Systems

Registration and Adjudication of Customary Rights

Registration and adjudication of customary rights are other strategies to integrate customary rights into statutory systems. Registration entails legal recognition and identifying the owner and appropriate land uses. As established by the Village Land Act 1999 sections 51-55, registration and adjudication take two forms: spot adjudication[1] and systematic[1] village adjudication. In Babati and Iringa districts, a Systematic Adjudication (SA) or carta procedure using satellite imagery was used to delineate the boundaries of a land parcel. The use of satellite imagery maps reduces costs and time needed to mark boundaries. Also, as the whole village is visible in one or a series of adjacent images, it is also credited for being more inclusive, as landowners are able to see their parcels before the registration process proceeds (Zein, 2017). This process of adjudication was done piecemeal, whereby the villages were divided into different hamlets (Kitongoji) to carry the process. In view of Kurwakumire (2013), the piecemeal process of adjudication is considered flexible, inclusive, participatory, affordable, reliable, attainable, and upgradable, can be applied within short time frame, and the involvement of the local communities can help guarantee the acceptance of the result at local level.

Systematic adjudication involved various steps aimed to ensure that the Participatory Land Use Management team (PLUM) and Land Adjudication Committee (LAC) hamlet chairpersons were involved, and landowners and all neighboring individuals had to be present during the identification and verification of parcel boundary records. All these structures are a means of integrating customary tenure system into statutory mechanisms. At the end, the landowners and neighbors sign on the systematic adjudication record form and landowners obtain a Parcel Identification Number (PIN). According to Zevenbergen (2002) and Lemmen et al. (2009), this process is likely to reduce future land disputes, evections, and dispossessions, since it enhances transparency and identifies parcel owners. Indeed, adjudication and registration culminate in provision of CCROs which entails entitlement of land rights. The extent to which CCROs integrate customary rights into statutory systems remain a subject of discussion.

Customary Certificate of Rights of Occupants (CCROs) and Its Statutory Integration

Registration of land rights and ownership are done through granting of CCROs (URT, 1999). Section 8 of the Village Land Act 1999 states that ownership of land and associated rights are evidenced through holding CCROs. This is a change from customary procedures where land rights were traditionally owned, and exclusion was done through general boundaries (Fairley, 2012). Instead of giving emphasis to individualization of land rights, customary arrangements fostered shared and communal rights. Clanship farming was among the pointers for shared rights. The introduction of CCROs has integrated the traditional practices of land ownership and use. Today, formalization has introduced individual, joint, and group CCROs. These may take diverse forms (Schreiber, 2017). The Village Land Act 1999 established six types of occupancy certificates:

  • • Men and women at least 18 years of age could register in their own names any land granted to them by their local government or land they had used for more than 12 years;
  • • The law also permitted joint registration, for example, a husband and wife could register as co-owners, and the certificate would include both of their names;
  • • In case of polygamous marriage, or when more than two family members jointly owned land, the title could include the names of all of the users under a group registration;
  • • When a dispute arose over who should inherit the land of a deceased landowner, the family could appoint an administrator to temporarily manage the land until the family reached an agreement on how to divide the property;
  • • In the case of a person younger than 18 years, the legal guardian could obtain a guardianship occupancy certificate, which could expire when the child turned 18;
  • • Finally, organizations like schools or dispensaries could obtain institutional occupancy certificates.

These typologies of CCROs amalgamated traditional land ownership and the entitlements of a legally recognized system. CCROs provide evidence of ownership, justification for dispute settlement, and instruments of compensation (Fitzgerald, 2017). Between 2009 and 2017, data from the district land registry showed that a total of 15,196 CCROs were granted from 27 villages out of 102 villages in Babati district, while in Iringa DC about 14,990 CCROs were granted from 2005 to 2016, from 63 villages out of 133 villages.

Despite such benefits associated with the integration of customary land tenure rights into statutory systems, CCROs suffer from their poorly produced quality, they are not connected with the national land management system, and there are no systems that integrate customary land transactions, CCROs issuance, and land disputes. CCROs issuance and monitoring have remained analogous to traditional practice. Moreover, although CCROs’ integration into legal systems in Tanzania suggests a desired land administration milestone, the practice has not made village council autonomous and secure in their land ownership. This is because land in Tanzania is still under presidential custody; the president has power to revoke any CVL and acquire any plot. Hence, this integration has not liberated village ownership and registration from these challenges.

The process of adjudication demonstrates diverse facets of its implications on land tenure security among rural people. The theoretical gains of adjudication link it with reduced conflicts, and improved land rights and access to loans (Deininger, 2003; Byamugisha, 2013). On the contrary, the practices of land adjudication demonstrate a failed intervention. Instead of providing remedies for the existing land use conflict, the process of adjudication has been a cause of land use conflicts. This occurs due to some errors in surveying and measurements, allocation errors, and deficiencies in software. The process has not improved women’s ownership and rights to land; this manifests through continuing use of family CCROs and group CCROs ensuring that customary ways of land ownership that work in favor of the men rather than women continue to prevail.

  • [1] Spot adjudication is applied in response to a demand from an individual applicant for CCRO. A pre-established adjudication team, together with the CCRO applicant and contiguous neighbors, will visit the applicant’s land parcel and makerecords of the coordinates of the boundary details of the parcel (TFCG, 2015). ' Systematic adjudication involves multiple land holdings; this option is capital intensive (financial, skilled technical personnel, labor, time, and equipment) requires mobilization and participation of large number of community members,and requires application of effective participatory methods. This is common when a third party interest is involved andwilling to finance the process, such as an NGO project or government operations, or the communities in the village implement the process with their own resources (TFCG, 2015).
  • [2] Spot adjudication is applied in response to a demand from an individual applicant for CCRO. A pre-established adjudication team, together with the CCRO applicant and contiguous neighbors, will visit the applicant’s land parcel and makerecords of the coordinates of the boundary details of the parcel (TFCG, 2015). ' Systematic adjudication involves multiple land holdings; this option is capital intensive (financial, skilled technical personnel, labor, time, and equipment) requires mobilization and participation of large number of community members,and requires application of effective participatory methods. This is common when a third party interest is involved andwilling to finance the process, such as an NGO project or government operations, or the communities in the village implement the process with their own resources (TFCG, 2015).
 
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