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The Risks of Repeating History: The New Land Law in Mozambique

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Brouwer, Roland
Conference: XII International Congress on Customary Law and Legal Pluralism: Challenges in the Third Millenium
Location: Arica, Chile
Conf. Date: March 13-17, 2000
Date: 2000
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1461
Sector: Social Organization
Land Tenure & Use
Region: Africa
Subject(s): capitalism
land tenure and use
conflict
property rights
Abstract: "After almost two decades of socialist experiments and civil war, Mozambique has embarked on the road to peaceful construction and capitalism, although seeds of conflict remain present. As part of the current reform in 1997 a new land law was introduced. Contrary to previous legislation, this law recognizes traditional and community rights to land. The paper argues that the new law rests on a simplified image of community and traditional rights. It also defends that the law, instead of being an innovation, signifies a return to the legal dualism that in the colonial era formed the backbone of indirect rule. Such a return might prove disastrous. Recent Ugandan and South African history suggests that current ethnic conflicts in Africa can be traced back to the failure to dissolve the divide that was produced by colonial indirect rule. For the same reason, the new law may contribute to the rekindling of conflicts in Mozambique."

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