Milestones have been made to protect the property rights of women and the instruments are being analysed. Women can apply for land in their own right. Further, the Government has established a quota system wherein women are entitled to get a share of all land identified for resettlement.
It remains to be seen how effective this quota system has been followed by the allocating authority, as the statistics cut across other considerations such as war veterans and youths. It is my submission that women war veterans be honoured as such by right, so as to create more space for other ordinary women. Women also own land through relations such as marriage or inheritance. However, most women who own land through marriage are reluctant to have their names on the tenure document, and this has a strong bearing on their rights as I shall indicate below.
Statutory Instrument 53 of 2014 provides that, if a permit holder is married to one or more spouses at the time, the permit is signed, his or her spouse (s) shall be deemed to hold an equal joint and undivided share in the allocated land. On the other hand, if both spouses are signatories to the permit, they both automatically hold equal joint and undivided shares in the allocated land.
The consequences of failing to have one’s name on the tenure document are felt upon divorce, as the spouse who holds the tenure document is given superior rights of buying the other party out with very limited or no recourse for the other spouse.
However, if both parties have their names on the tenure document and if neither of them is willing to be bought out, their case has to go for arbitration as provided by the Arbitration Act (Chapter 7:15). According to the instrument the party who is most likely to develop the plot further will get the right to buy out the other.