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Customary and statutory laws in Tanzania

In Tanzania, Statutory laws, the principle legislation in the country made by the Parliament, give men and women equal rights to property ownership.

However, customary law, followed in traditional and rural communities, does not always protect a woman’s right to own or inherit property.

To add to this, there are different customary laws in Tanzania depending on whether land is defined as “clan” or “non-clan” land:

  • Clan land is passed from father to son. Clan land belongs to the clan and cannot be sold.

  • Non-clan land is divided by degrees of inheritance, with first-born sons getting the largest share, younger sons getting a smaller share, and daughters getting the smallest share.

In any case, wives do not inherit any land under customary law. However, the Constitution states that: “Every person is entitled to own property, and has a right to the protection of his (or her) property held in accordance with the law”

There are a number of statutory laws in Tanzania that specifically protect a woman’s right to own land. At Inherit Your Rights, we train women on the laws that are in place to protect their rights. In many cases, women are simply not aware of these rights, and how they can be exercised to protect land and inheritance.

When there is conflict in this space, there are a number of channels women can pursue to obtain justice. As part of our paralegal program, we train women, as well as men, to become legal advocates who can in turn help other women in their community understand their rights and how they can pursue matters through Village Councils or Wards and the justice system.

Would you like to help more women receive education like this to help assert and defend their rights? Please make a donation today to help educate, empower and represent more women in Tanzania. Give today.

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