Research on power balances in Land control

14-02-2014 Murtah Read has been doing his internship with Mviwata in Tanzania, doing research on the questions of social justice and power balances when it comes to land control in Tanzania.

Linked to this news item you will find the more accessible report he wrote for Mviwata. On request his MSc-thesis is available as well.

In his conclusion Murtah states: "The research findings underline the central tenets of the 'political turn' in the land grab debate by defining the primary problem of land control as one resulting from exploitative power balances. By virtue of the fact that these power balances work through existing political institutions, there is a need for a strategic reassertion towards strategies creating new avenues of power. Up scaling grass-roots mobilization would not only serve to create such new (extra-institutional) avenues of power, but would also serve to counter the lack of awareness and corruption at the local level, a characteristic of Tanzanian land control which was generally recognized as the weakest link within the context of social justice and land control. We suggest that such strategies should be engaged in by dedicated alliances of CSO's prioritizing cooperation and information sharing. Within this context the TALA and MVIWATA are key players towards mobilizing social justice claims over land. Much of their potential however appears yet to be realized. As with many things, to a great extent this boils down to the availability of funds. Donors should therefore refrain from facilitating exploitative and corporate lead agrarian 'development' programmes under the guise of food security such as SAGCOT. By working towards the provision of stable aid flows to grass roots mobilization initiatives, donors will be able to contribute to the local emancipation of small-holders and thus the long term sustainability of development aid".

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