Participatory approaches to land policy reform in Zambia: potentials and challenges
The subject of participation is now at the core of many contemporary development debates. This is promoted within the emerging context of moving away from ‘government’ to ‘governance’ as stakeholders are increasingly getting frustrated by governments’ continued application of the mundane Decide, Announce, and Defend (DAD) approaches to policy making. However, despite the voluminous amount of literature on participation, there is little scholarly work on whether or how communities, particularly those in rural and periurban locations, participate in land policy processes. This paper examines the extent to which Zambia’s land policy process is participatory on the part of rural/periurban communities. The paper argues that despite its potential, genuine participation of rural communities in land policy processes in Zambia is constrained by cultural/social norms that defer the views of rural communities to those of their traditional rulers. On the other hand, periurban communities are excluded from the participatory agenda by the dynamics surrounding struggles over land and proceeds accruing from land transactions. The implication of these findings is that, since participatory requirements/expectations of rural communities may not necessarily be similar to those of periurban communities, there is need to explore the potential of designing ‘bespoke’ policies that would accommodate the needs of the individual communities. Keywords: Zambia, land policy reform, stakeholder participation
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