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Chileshe et al

Greener Journal of  Social Sciences Vol. 7 (3), pp. 022-033, June 2017

  ISSN: 2276-7800 © 2017 GJSS

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 060817072



Customary Land Tenure Disputes and Rural Livelihoods in Zambia: Case of Ufwenuka Chiefdom in Southern Province 


Roy Alexander Chileshe*1, Niraj Jain2 and Remmy Chiselenga3


1Department of Urban and Regional Planning, School of the Built Environment, Copperbelt University, P O Box 21692, Kitwe, Zambia.

2Department of Real Estate Studies, School of the Built Environment, Copperbelt University, PO Box 21692, Kitwe, Zambia.

3Graduate student, School of Graduate Studies, Dag HammerskjÖid Institute for Peace Studies Copperbelt University, P O Box 21692, Kitwe, Zambia.


This paper explores customary land disputes and their implications on livelihoods among the Tonga tribe in Southern Province of Zambia.  Empirical data was acquired from a cluster of three small village communities located in Ufwenuka Chiefdom of Monze District. Data was collected through household questionnaires, informant’s interviews, and focus group discussions. Respondents included village elders, village headmen and heads of households. The research shows that customary land disputes are relatively low in the village communities and when they occur they are mostly about competing interest for arable land and natural resources. Important livelihood implications of the disputes include: growing landholding insecurity; reduced access to natural resources; disruption of agriculture land use; and social tension within households, clans and the community; and loss of trust in traditional leaders. The study concludes that traditional institutions are central in determining access, use and control of land and natural resources in rural livelihoods and land dispute settlement. Consequently, strengthening traditional land administration institutions operating in the customary lands of Zambia is critical for local livelihoods.


Keywords: Land, customary land tenure, land disputes, rural livelihoods, Zambia.

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