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Navigating uncertainty: A mosaic of memories of local authorities in Bukavu

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... The Communal Houses and the Department oppose each otherregarding who has the right to issue this document." 8 In this manner, authorities of one institution may explicitly invalidate titles delivered by competing state authorities (van Overbeek 2014). This competition weighs heavily on Panzi residents who can never know if the recognition they have received from a land authority is going to be valid when another one decides to pay them a visit. ...
... This competition is compounded by the at-best derisory payment that state officials receive as compensation for their work. State officials adapt by seeking out potential claimants to whom they may issue certificates, and transgressions they may resolve or issue fines for (van Overbeek 2014). ...
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This policy brief analyzes the nexus between conflict, property rights, and land governance in the Panzi neighborhood of Bukavu, the provincial capital of South Kivu. Based on qualitative and quantitative data we show that property rights are precarious in Panzi for most people. The issue of property rights is among the most important issues facing Panzi residents. The research suggests that practices of governance are main causes of tenure insecurity and land conflicts in Bukavu. People’s property rights are withheld from them with the aim of generating income for the land authorities. This means that land authorities de facto use the law as an instrument to keep people in a situation of permanent illegality, which makes them vulnerable to extortion. Panzi’s land authorities threaten residents into a negotiating a transgression fee or fine. In this way, Panzi residents are able to acquire a kind of temporary right to break the law, until the next authority comes along asking for another fee.
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