After the consent: Re-imagining participatory land governance in Massingir, Mozambique
This article in Geoforum argues that participatory land governance and consultation processes need follow-up mechanisms since new actors, claims and strategies emerge after consent has been reached. In the study area Massingir, Mozambique, foreign private and domestic investments in the agribusiness, tourism, and conservation sectors in the district have been on the rise. This resulted in events that scholars and activists have come to describe as land, water, and green grabs. The discussions have urged the government to implement the policy and legal frameworks that oblige investors to undertake community consultations (based on Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC)). However, little has been clarified about how the consulted communities actually have experienced the consequences of their consent after they agreed to resettle or to concede parts of their communally managed land to investors. This article elaborates on a case study of a communities near Limpopo National Park, which, after struggling to secure land, began to reflect on their initial consent, interact with various actors, and craft strategies for expressing dissent and re-negotiating the initial deal. The article argues that the current emphasis on consultation for the purposes of building consent overlooks the importance of paying systemic attention to these strategies that are emerging from the community’s everyday experiences with the consequences of their act of giving consent. Inclusive land governance entails an institutional mechanism that closely responds to people’s experiences with policy practices.
This work was part of an Applied Research Fund project in Mozambique, please find more information and also policy briefs about the project here.