Thursday, May 30, 2024

Squatters face eviction from the land they have lived on for the past 59 years

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ABOUT 56 people living on an abandoned Chalimbana farm face eviction from the land they have called home for the past 59 years.

This follows a decision by the legal owners of the land to engage lawyers Milner Katolo and Associates to carry out the eviction.

In a letter dated July 25 2013 on behalf of Charles N.J Murless and Lourie Estates Limited v Beauty Nyendwa and other persons unknown and obtained by the Sunday Mail addressed to one of the settlers Miss Anna Phiri, the letter read:

“We refer to the captioned matter and advise that we have firm instructions to evict you from the said farm and an order to that effect has been obtained. We therefore demand that within 7 days of this letter, you peacefully move out of the farm failure to which we shall have you evicted by the Bailiffs in which case you may lose all your assets.”

Efforts to contact the advocates went in vain as the phone was constantly engaged.

A visit by the Sunday Mail to the farm in question found despondent farm workers waiting to be addressed by Patriotic Front (PF) Lusaka District chairman Goodson Banda.

One of the earliest settlers on the farm, which is alleged to be 1,900 hectares, said his father first came to the farm in 1950 and was employed by a white owner known as Henkel.

Mr Maxwell Banda, who was born in 1954, said years later he, his siblings and relatives were all employed by the same man, who died in 1977.

He said a Mrs Pester took over the running of the farm but also died after which the son took over the estate but also died.

Mr Banda alleged that the late son’s lawyers informed his relatives in South Africa and when they came to Zambia, they told him and the other workers they would give them some land and benefits, after which they left.

But from the time the relatives left for South Africa, it is now 13 years and they have never been back, Mr Banda said.

However, much to their surprise, Mr Banda said the lawyer turned against them and told them to leave the farm as he has now bought it.

“Where are we going to go? We’ve lived here all these years, borne children here.

This is what we know to be our home. This man is taking advantage of us because we are poor. May this government help us,” he said.

And PF District Chairman Mr Banda said his government has the interest of the people at heart regardless of whether they have money or not.

Mr Banda said he would report the matter to Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) for them to investigate how the farm was bought.

He said it is not fair that after the land was abandoned for 13 years, someone can suddenly come and chase the families who held the fort all these years and were also loyal to the owners.

12 COMMENTS

  1. If has acquired title deeds for it then you are screwed. Squatting does not make you owner of the property you are squatting on.

    • These are damn foreigners who are trying to kick out natives out of their birth land… where were they all this time… this is not right!!! i now understand mugabe and appreciate him on land issues

    • well if the squatters have been living on the land for over 10 yrs and have made sum sort of investment upon the land ..the laws of the land should protect them and offer them adequate compensation/ consideration….but then ofcourse u could correct me if Iam wrong..and what does our law say abour absentee landlords?…anyway good luck to the squatters

  2. There is a law regarding possession passing on to squatters if
    the squatters have been living on the property over a certain
    period of time even if title deeds indicate otherwise. There have
    been cases in the UK where squatters have been given ownership
    of property worth several hundred thousands after having lived
    there for over the legal period. Possession is nine tenth ownership.

  3. The land should be repossessed by the State. That lawyer may be illegally trying to acquire that land knowing all legitimate owners have since passed on. There is urgent need to investigate how the lawyer acquired the land and to whom did he transact? There seems to be more questions than answers. Mr. Banda is a key witness in this case. Good luck, Mr Banda and all squatters.

  4. It is a sad development, the length of the period of squatting does not legalize illegal occupation of land. However a human right approach overrides all competing interests. Read the Grootboom case of south Africa in which the state ruled in favor of the squatters on account that everyone has a right to shelter which is a living condition upon which the right to a minimum standard health depends.

    Where is the human rights commission in Zambia? Do they wait for people to be shot dead after which they have no control over? You have a useless government, why do vote in first place, Zambians wake up.

  5. These problems have been around and we are aware of them. All allocated land is documented in the system and all neighbourhoods are documented in various demographic documents. Land allocated by political cadres without the involvement of local government authority is land obtained illegally. Government(s), particularly local government, should start taking stock of which squatters are on who’s land and start working on alternative housing for evacuation. Infact evacuation to up-graded well planned neighbourhoods with better sanitation should be an ongoing process. The people who squat do so out of desperation, and settle illegally, but as a community and as government it is imperative that we provide legal housing infrastructure for those populations. They are here to stay.

  6. The least this government can do is protect the poor, the hoppeless they deserve more than an eviction from some strangers from nowhere. Dignity in there own land.

  7. Two wrongs do not make a right. All those supporting the squatters do not do it out of emotion. If you meet squattors personaly on your land then you would have a good understanding of the situation. These people did not have the fore sight to legalise their stay on the land for fifty nine years. where they that illiterate? Land squabbles in this country are not new didn’t they see it comming after seeing their friends in similar predicaments? I personnaly hate this idea of squatting on someones land and crying foul when the owner appears. The problem with some of us is that we do not have a respect for private property ownership. Let them seek redress from the courts.

  8. There is precedence,a farmer in mazabuka was ordered by the court to allocate 10ha to ophans of his former worker.

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