Land acquisition processes in flood-prone informal settlements in Dar es Salaam: A rhetoric revealing land governance
Keywords:informal settlements, flood risk, land acquisition, land governance, regulatory frameworks
Acquisition of land in flood-prone informal settlements is restricted by land-use policies, laws, and regulations in many countries, including Tanzania. Due to rapid urbanisation trends, coupled with growing urban planning deficiencies, many residents, particularly in the low-income group, have resorted to settling in flood-prone informal settlements. This article provides a rhetoric exposé to land governance by exploring the processes that land seekers go through to acquire building land (sites). This includes flood-prone land in informal settlements in Dar es Salaam, despite prohibition by land-use legislation. The study employed a case study design where quantitative and qualitative data were collected, using household questionnaires, key informant interviews, and focus-group discussions. Msasani Bonde la Mpunga, a flood-prone settlement in Dar es Salaam, was selected as a case study area to investigate the processes and actors involved. Results showed that most of the landowners in flood-prone areas of Msasani Bonde la Mpunga acquired land parcels informally after they moved into the city from various parts of the country. Approaches and processes of acquiring land were gone through, using social connections with relatives and friends living in the area, engaging brokers, and obtaining verbal or written selling transfer agreements from ward officials. Some encroached or invaded vacant land. Gradually, building structures emerged, although initially, invaders pretended to put up temporary dwellings. The few who inherited land did not undergo similar processes of acquiring land directly. This article concludes that the processes through which land seekers acquire building land, despite being flood-prone areas, are fuelled by weak governance. Government measures are often top-down and reactive instead of proactive. The article recommends rethinking land-governance efforts that entail bottom-up interventions with substantive involvement in decision-making processes. These should involve communities in the co-production of appropriate land-governance regulatory measures in flood-prone informal settlements.
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