Protection of customary land rights is very essential in Tanzania and other developing countries since most of rural residents occupy land based on customary rules. They have no written document to evidence their title over the subject. Even ire registered and secured with certificate of customary certificate of rights of occupancy, they are yet weak as compared to granted right of occupancy. They cannot suffice without been back by strong and sufficient legal regime to protect their land rights. Customary land rights are always deemed to be weak and subordinate to statutory rights despite the fact that section 18(1) of the Village Land Act, 1999 declares it to be of the same status as granted right of occupancy. Therefore, the study is premised to assess the legal protection offered to the customary land rights in Tanzania through normative legal research. Nevertheless, the study find out that the Land Act, Urban Planning Act, Land Acquisition Act derogate such protection accorded to the customary land rights. The existing land laws in Tanzania, though to some extent has a considerable progress regarding protection of customary land rights, some gaps are identified that still weaken the status of customary land rights. Consequently, the study recommends for amendment some land laws that are inconsistency with the protection of customary land rights.
Key Words: Customary land rights; Legal protection; Land Law; Tanzania