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Steps women can take to claim land rights

In Tanzania, there are various channels women can pursue to protect and assert their rights particularly when it comes to conflict over land. Even in communities where customary law prevails, there are means for women to raise claims. However due to the remote nature of communities and their patriarchal structure, many women are simply not informed about their rights and how to exercise them. At Inherit Your Rights, we work with women to help them navigate through these channels and assert their rights. The higher you go in the court system, the more likely women are to be protected and guaranteed their rights.

1. Clan Council/Ten Cell Leader Meeting: When a conflict arises within members of the same community, the first step is to raise the issue with the Clan Chairman – or the Ten Cell Leader, if the parties are from different communities. If a mutually acceptable settlement cannot be reached, they Clan Chairman or Ten Cell Leader can call a Clan Council Meeting/Meeting of elders to discuss the issue and, using customary law, reach a decision.

2. Village Land Council: If you are not satisfied with the Clan Council’s decision you can file a complaint with the Village Land Council. They will hear your case, attempt mediation, and reach a decision.

3. Ward Tribunal on Land Matters: If you are not satisfied with the Village Land Council’s decision, the next step is to appeal to the Ward Tribunal. They will attempt to mediate, but if this fails and the disputed property is worth less than 3,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings, they will conduct an investigation and reach a decision.

4. District Land and Housing Tribunal: If you are not satisfied with the Ward Tribunal’s decision, or the property is worth more than 3,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings, you can appeal to the District Land and Housing Tribunal. Here, an advocate can begin appearing with you. If you are coming from the previous court, you have 45 days to appeal to the District Land and Housing Tribunal.

5. High Court of Tanzania: If you are not satisfied with the District Land and Housing Tribunal’s decision, or the property is worth more than 40,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings for movable property or 50,000,000 for immovable property, you can appeal to the High Court.

6. Court of Appeal of Tanzania: This is the last court. They only evaluate questions of law, not fact. You only have 30 days after the High Court reaches their decision to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

To learn more, or if you need help making or pursuing a claim around property contact us today.

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