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God created man to occupy land.

Land is a precious asset. Ordinarily or naturally, a father is happy and proud of his son for acquiring land.
In fact, I have enquired from a few gentlemen who attested to the fact that they would rather go for a house than a car. After obtaining land, there is a feeling of citizenship and sense of belonging, basically existing and thriving within the spheres and principles of statehood.

National identity (ID) is not only about the long number on your card. True and genuine ID is land. Land is an asset and investment. It is where we build our home. A home is a first place where a State is established. It is our fortress. It is where families are strengthened. Actually, a State is a group of families coming together to form a government.
I agree with those who say a government is an agent of the State.  Everything begins at home. Leaders are produced by homes – families. Of course, it starts with land on which we build homes. Without land, we don’t have homes, and the State is weak.

If the State is weak, it will produce a confused agent – the government. The most disturbing element about the land tenure system in Eswatini is that emaSwati do not have land. If you argue that they have land, there is no guarantee that they own it. My attitude is that there is no land security on Eswatini Nation Land (ENL). When carefully analysing the land tenure system, you will realise that the land has been leased out to emaSwati. I hope the 12th Parliament would address this terrible discrepancy.

The problematic land tenure system was created by our forefathers. We need to address it as a matter of urgency.
Land tenure is broadly of two types in Eswatini, Eswatini Nation Land or Traditional Tenure System and Title Deed Land (TDL). This excludes the Individual Tenure Farms (ITF) that are owned by freeholders or concession.
The ENL, which is communal, is held in trust by the King. They are allocated by chiefs to individual families for their use.

Land security is guaranteed by good conduct. Misconduct may result in the dismissal of the land owner and his family. Under ENL, the children bear the sins of their fathers, and I have seen this happening at Macetjeni and KaMkhweli communities. It happened at Musi in Mankayane, where children were affected when their fathers were dismissed by the chief.

There are numerous cases of evictions of emaSwati from the land of their forefathers.
I always wonder why a fine or another mode of punishment is not considered to protect the children from this violation of the right to own and access land. I do not tolerate misbehaviour. Instead, I am of the view that the country’s authorities and chiefs should be accorded the dignity and respect they deserve.

However, any breach of trust and violation of community standards by an individual family should not deprive them of their fundamental right to own and access land. There should be a way of correcting wayward behaviour without having to expel a person from his home. As a nation, we have to consider issuing land certificates to prove ownership of the land. We can pay small or reasonable taxes to ensure quality provision of community services like refuse collection, water or electricity.

In cases where umphakatsi fears for an individual’s life, negotiations for resettlement should be considered, as opposed to issuing a directive or order that he or she should leave the community with immediate effect.
This is when the family is under threat from a mob. The Land Policy Draft of 1999 intended to address what I am talking about, lest I be misunderstood.


It intended to improve gender equity in land allocation and protection of property rights, the use of Eswatini Nation Land as collateral for loans and the introduction of an efficient, effective and comprehensive system of land administration and management. It is unfortunate that the policy was never endorsed. How do we reform our land? There was also a good move to table what was to be known as the Swazi National Land Commercialisation Bill, 2016. It was to be in line with the country’s commitment to the African Union (AU) Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges (AU Declaration on Land).

The Heads of State and Government resolved to take ownership of and lead land reform processes by strengthening institutions for effective land governance and allocating adequate budgetary resources for policy development, implementation and tracking of progress. They also resolved to ensure equitable land access for all land users and improve access and security of land tenure for women, as key priorities.

The AU Declaration on Land urge member States to develop comprehensive land policies that address specific needs of each State, and build adequate human, financial and technical capacities in accordance with the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa. The Declaration invites Regional Economic Committees (RECs) to mainstream land governance issues in common frameworks, policies and protocols, and to convene platforms for disseminating knowledge and sharing best practices.

It urges the African Union Commission in partnership with ECA, AfDB and RECs to establish an appropriate institutional mechanism for coordination, a monitoring framework for tracking progress, and a fund to support activities in the implementation of the AU Declaration on land. Regarding the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods, it  specifies land tenure as one of the commitment areas in agriculture, while recognising that this is ‘not (completely) under the mandate of the Ministry of Agriculture.’

Good land policies and management are cited as key to achieving agricultural transformation with equitable access to land and secure land rights being critical to investment and sustainable land management. The key performance targets and indicators for monitoring and reporting on the Malabo Declaration for Agriculture include land governance-related targets and indicators. In this regard, the recommendation is that 100 per cent of farm households have ownership or secure land rights by 2025.

I have realised that the country’s dual system makes it difficult for the country to meet the AU obligations on land governance. Eswatini’s customary systems remain strong and resist efforts to modernise the land tenure system. Land reformation is fundamental if we want to attain First World status. I want to put it on record that it would be very difficult or impossible to attain First World status with the archaic land tenure system.

I would have been extremely happy to celebrate 55th Independence Anniversary with revised land tenure system supported by a modern Land Act or progressive of forward-looking land policy. It’s a disgrace that we do not have a land policy as a country. Come on Eswatini! We have a pile of land policy drafts that do not improve the lives of emaSwati. The only reference about land is the Constitution in which Section 211 provides that “all land (including existing concessions) in Swaziland (Eswatini), save privately held title-deed land, vest in Ingwenyama in trust for the Swazi Nation as it vested on April 12, 1973.”

It is provided in the Constitution that a citizen of the country, without regard to gender, shall have equal access to land for normal domestic purposes. Subsection three points to the fact that a person shall not be deprived of land without due process of law and where a person is deprived, that person shall be entitled to prompt and adequate compensation for any improvement on that land or loss consequent upon that deprivation unless otherwise provided by law.

The Constitution, a supreme law of the land, legalises the forfeiture of land. It condones land deprivation. No matter how much compensation could possibly be paid out, land is emotionally owned and spiritually accessed.   
Reads Section 211 (1): “From the date of commencement of this Constitution, all land (including any existing concessions) in Swaziland, save privately held title deed land, shall continue to vest in Ingwenyama in trust for the Swazi Nation as it vested on the 12th April 1973.”

Analyse and underline Section 211 (3): “A person shall not be deprived of land without due process of law, and where a person is deprived, that person shall be entitled to prompt and adequate compensation for any improvement on that land or loss consequent upon that deprivation unless otherwise provided by law.” It was enough to say that a person shall not be deprived of land. Without ‘due process of law’ is not necessary. Any law that deprives me of land is evil. What do you take me to court to rob me of my land?

I was not born in the air, but my mother was on the land, on earth, when she conceived me. Therefore, I was born to occupy land. As a landowner, I should be the one suggesting any land transfer on Eswatini Nation Land. EmaSwati can accept any modest and corrective punishment for misdemeanours of any type, but they cannot afford to lose their asset or resource which is dear and precious to them.


I may lack in many things, but I must have land. After all, land belongs to God. Then, the Constitution takes away powers from the chiefs and transfers them to the Land Management Board (LMB), which continues to operate in the country without an Act of Parliament. Since its establishment, it has failed to produce the land policy. This is despite the fact that the LMB is paid hefty salaries and allowances, including gratuities.

For what are we paying them?
As provided in Section 212 (4), the Land Management Board is responsible for the overall management, and for the regulation of any right or interest in land whether urban or rural or vesting in Ingwenyama in trust for the Eswatini nation. In my understanding, the Board has sweeping powers to an extent that they can overrule a chief in matters related to land management and distribution.

The economy of Eswatini is largely dependent on agriculture. I must say that the agriculture sector employs 70 per cent of the population. Primarily, agriculture requires land and water. Regardless of political affiliation or beliefs in religion or otherwise, emaSwati should be free to make money from their lands through agriculture, without the fear of land deprivation. Banks should be free to advance loans to them to push the agricultural agenda. They should use land as collateral for the loans. Let them do whatever they want with their lands.