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Married Women in Botswana Can Now Own Lands

 

Due to a new amendment of the 2015 Land Policy, married women will now be able to own lands independent of their husbands in Botswana. This follows an age-long tradition, which prohibits married women, widows and orphans from inheriting land or acquiring a new land.

The amendments to the Botswana 2015 Land Policy was announced by the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi via Twitter. He wrote, “Last year during our BDP election campaign trail I made a commitment to ensure that the Land Policy is amended so as to give married women the right to apply for land even when their husbands already have been allocated plots.

“The Botswana Land Policy of 2015 was discriminatory against married women. Section 72 (iii) stated that since only one spouse can apply for a plot, the surviving spouse must as a right inherit their land allocations. This clause did not give married women equal treatment with men and I am happy to report that this discriminatory subsection has since been repealed.

“The Revised Botswana Land Policy of 2019 now gives married women the right to apply for land. It reads thus:

“Each Motswana will be eligible for allocation of one residential plot at an area of their choice within the country, on both state land and tribal land. ”

“Section 72 also of the Botswana Land Policy 2015 recognises that there are instances where some widows and orphans are compelled to head households and find themselves in an urgent need of land for residential purposes as a result of being denied access to their deceased husband’s or parents’ property.

“However, the rights of these are protected in the law and Policy andencourage Local and Land Authorities as well as Non-Governmental Organisations to step up campaigns to educate women and orphans about their legally protected rights and offer them legal support to successfully claim their legitimate land right.”

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