Mrs Shiela Minkah-Premo, National Chair of the Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA-Ghana) has called on stakeholders to ensure that provisions of gender equality and social inclusion were maintained in the Land Bill 2018 before its passage.
She said with the majority of legal cases budding around landed properties, the Law must guard against all forms of discrimination particularly gender biases.
Mrs Minkah-Premo said this during a day’s roundtable workshop in Ho, organised by the Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) in partnership with LAWA-GHANA as part of regional engagements on the bill.
She said the new bill sought to harmonise the myriad of laws and regulations on land in the country towards creating sustainable management and administration guidelines.
Mrs Minkah-Premo said the next phase of the Land Administration Project must reflect international best practices in land management, therefore terminologies such as “gender” and “spouse” required strong definitions.
The Lawyer, who also chairs the Women and Children’s Rights Committee of the Ghana Bar Association said land administration within polygamous settings must also be considered and provided for.
Mrs Minkah-Premo said when passed, the illegality of land guards would be solidified, and the law would ensure heavy handedness in dealing with such issues and the Customary Land Secretariat would also be formalised and established at the district levels to ensure proper administration of customary lands.
She entreated parties interested in acquiring land to ensure that conveyances were prepared by legal experts, while women in particular must insist on deeds for acquired land.
Madam Patricia Blankson Akakpo, Programme Manager of NETRIGHT said gender and class inequalities had plagued Ghana’s land tenure system and it was therefore necessary for women’s rights groups, associations of people living with disabilities, the media among others to help create awareness on key issues.
Madam Akakpo said with support from STAR Ghana and funding from the USAID, DANIDA and the European Union, NETRIGHT was undertaking a 30-month project to safeguard equality in land governance, and protect the interests and livelihoods of rural women.
She said stakeholders were pushing for the revision of clause (11) of the bill to safeguard the rights of persons living with disabilities.
“We are working to ensure that gender and social equality provisions as well as other key issues are not watered down before it gets to Parliament”, Madam Akakpo stated.
She said other clauses, including the 19th, which required the creation of reserved areas for common use, and the 16th which established the Customary Land Secretariat, were also key provisions that must be sustained.
Madam Akakpo said the various engagements would help make key findings and recommendations towards an equitable land policy.