This paper expounds the problematic of land acquisition for public use in Tanzania. Three cases are examined to explore how social, institutional and economic processes and interests and the associated key players interact to generate conflicts, and the abortive attempts made to resolve them.
One of the most valuable lesson drawn is that the processes involved in land acquisition for public use i.e. alienation, valuation and compensation, unless supported by clear, institutionalised and inclusive protocols, which are transparent and predicable, may result in unintended and undesirable negative consequences and grievances triggering conflicts between government and landowners. These could potentially escalate and assume political dimensions that may further undermine the socio-economic sustainability, particularly of the poor, as well as constituting a threat to peace and stability.
It is argued that policy and legislative reforms are necessary in order to review the current top-down approaches to compulsory land acquisition practices, to institutionalise dialogue as a key strategy to acquire land and to set reliable mechanisms for the funding required to pay fair and prompt compensation. Most importantly, mandatory provision of land for resettlement and restoring appropriated households to the same position, as well as a change of attitude among public officials, including professionals, are also critical considerations. The latter is particularly so because a \"business as usual\" outlook tends to ignore the transformed urban property landscape, especially in regard to private property rights and the commodification of land.
Working Paper No. 82 (series 2), London, UK; Crisis States Research Centre, 30 pp.