Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Jean Kapata has maintained that the reaction by the Traditional Leaders during the National Validation meeting was extremely surprising because the document that was sent to them in 2017 for use in the National Validation Meeting had to a large extent addressed the issues that were brought to the attention of the Technical Committee in September 2016.
Ms Kapata said that her remains committed to finalizing the process of validating the new land policy, despite the setback created by traditional leaders walking out of the validation meeting.
In a press briefing held today to explain what transpired during the document validation during the week, Ms Kapata said that her ministry will continue to seek opportunities to engage with the Traditional Leaders who are key stakeholders to the process.
The Minister further said that clarification on the specific issues brought up by the Traditional Leaders at the National Validation Meeting shall be communicated in writing through the Office of the Clerk of the House of Chiefs, with the hope that that another validation meeting shall be convened to move the process forward.
Below is the full address
Press statement by Hon. Jean kapata, MP, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources on the outcome of the National land Policy Validation meeting held on Monday, 28th February, 2018.
I have called this press briefing in order to explain the events that transpired during the National Validation Meeting for the draft National Land Policy Meeting which was convened by my Ministry on Wednesday 28th February 2018 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka.
Both print and electronic media have carried stories and aired footage regarding the walk-out by the Traditional Leaders at this meeting where they communicated their rejection of the draft policy document for various reasons.
I can confirm Ladies and Gentlemen that this indeed transpired. It is for this reason that my Ministry has seen it fit to have this press briefing in order to respond to what happened as well as clear the air and address the questions that must be lingering in the minds of the public and stakeholders.
In making my address, I shall first make reference to the most recent event of 28th February 2018, then move to provide some historical background so that there is a clear appreciation of the context. I shall conclude my address by providing what my Ministry sees as a way forward to make progress on this very important issue which is a matter of National interest.
1. The National Validation Meeting
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources convened a National Validation Meeting for the Draft National Land Policy on Wednesday 28th February 2018. The purpose of the meeting was to ensure broad stakeholder participation in finalising the National land policy making process. The expected outcome was a validation of the draft National Land policy subject to the consideration of comments and clarification of issues raised in the meeting.
Present at the Meeting were Members of the House of Chiefs represented by the Chairperson of the House of Chiefs and two (2) Chiefs from each province.
In addition, stakeholders representing civil society, national, provincial, district and local government, cooperating partners, members of the academic community and others were invited to participate in the validation.
The meeting begun with a presentation on the contents of the draft land policy, where the proposed Policy Measures were presented in detail. Following the presentation, the Traditional Leaders were all given an opportunity to provide their initial comments, observations and suggestions.
Individual Chiefs spoke, and each of them expressed concerns that the draft policy document was not acceptable as it was taking powers away from Chiefs and did not indicate their roles and functions in land administration and management.
The Chairperson of the House of Chiefs was the last speaker who summarized the feedback from the Traditional Leaders with the conclusion that the House of Chiefs rejected the draft policy document on the following grounds:
- I. There was no mention of Chiefs in the draft Policy document, thereby implying that the institution of Chieftaincy was being abolished;
- II. The document was copied in exact form from the Land Policy in another Country where Chiefs had no role in land administration and management;
- III. None of the comments that were previously provided by the Traditional Leaders in their comprehensive submission of 8th September 2016 had been taken on board in the current draft;
- IV. Generally, the Traditional Leaders had not been consulted throughout the process;
- V. The Traditional Leaders did not understand how only twenty-two (22) of them were invited to the National Validation Meeting when the country had 288 Chiefs.
The Traditional Leaders, led by the Chairperson then walked out of the meeting without providing Government an opportunity to respond to the points raised by way of clarifying the matters raised and clearly pointing out how the draft policy document had actually addressed the issues.
2. Historical Background
The members of the public might wish to note that Zambia has not had a comprehensive National Land Policy since independence. Land administration and management has been guided by legislation and other administrative circulars and guidelines.
The need for a National Land Policy strongly came to the fore during the implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) from around 2002. Through an extensive consultative process, a draft National Land Policy was developed in 2006. The document could not be finalized due to the Constitutional Review process that had been embarked on by the Country during that period.
Following the guidance in the draft Constitution on matters related to land administration and management, my Ministry re-ignited the process of moving ahead to develop and finalize the National Land Policy in August 2015. The first step was to review the 2006 draft to align it with the current developments.
3. Stakeholder Consultations
A Technical Team comprising officers from my Ministry and other relevant ministries and institutions, including representatives from civil society, was constituted to spearhead the process, and the following consultative process was embarked on:
I. The first Meeting with the House of Chiefs was held on 3rd December 2015 in Lusaka. The meeting did not achieve the objective of receiving the views of the House of Chiefs on the proposals in the revised draft National Land Policy. The Chiefs indicated that they needed more time to study the document and consult their fellow Chiefs and subjects;
II. Ten (10) Provincial Consultative meetings convened as follows: Southern Province (15th November 2015); Eastern Province (22nd December 2015); Copperbelt Province (29th December 2015); Central Province (18th January 2016); Muchinga Province (20th January 2016); Northern Province (22nd January 2016); Luapula Province (25th Janaury 2016); North-Western Province (2nd February 2016); Lusaka Province (25th January 2016); Western Province (11th March 2016).
It must be noted that save for Lusaka and Western Provinces, Chiefs, and in their absence representatives, participated in the provincial consultative meetings. The section of the Chiefs was done in consultation with the House of Chiefs. The Provincial consultative meetings also included other stakeholders such as civil society, national, provincial, district and local government representatives, citizens and special interest groups;
III. The Second Consultative meeting with the Traditional Leaders represented by Members of the House of Chiefs took place on 12th May 2016 in Lusaka. The Meeting rejected the revised draft policy citing that it was defective especially in the area of preserving the institution of Chieftaincy and recognizing and defining their roles, responsibilities and place in customary land administration and management. A comprehensive submission from the House of Chiefs was sent to my Ministry on 8th September 2016.
Following the above consultative processes, the submissions were analyzed and some of the suggestions from the House of Chiefs as well as Provincial consultative meetings were taken on board in the 2nd revised draft.
It is important to summarize the main issues that were communicated in the comprehensive submission of 8th September 2016 from the House of Chiefs. These were the main issues that contributed to the rejection of the 1st revised draft:
a) The document was implying the abolishment of Customary Tenure, Exclusion of Chiefs from Land Administration and abolishment of Chieftaincy due to the transfer of land administration functions to the proposed Lands Commission;
b) The proposal that title deeds for customary land be issued and facilitated by a simplified government machinery for land delivery were not favorable. As an alternative, Customary title deeds for customary land shall be issued by traditional authorities and government must enact legislation recognizing customary land certificates issued by chiefs to be a legal document;
c) Institutional Framework comprising District Land Committees and Customary Land Committees to deal with Customary Land was not accepted. These bodies should restrict their activities to land on leasehold tenure;
d) Traditional authorities must be consulted by the Ministry of Mines before prospecting licenses are issued, consent must be given before mining rights are issued to investors, mining royalties must be paid to Chiefdom Trust accounts and there shall be agreements signed on shareholding between chiefs and investors;
e) The reference to vestment of land in the Republican President must be struck out of the draft policy document and replaced with classification and alienation of land and land tenure as enshrined in the amended Constitution under Article 254 (1) (2) of 2016.
As alluded to earlier, the above submissions, including others that were non-contentious and straightforward were taken on board. It is important to point out however, that the proposal related to mining was not taken on board as it was considered more relevant to a policy on mining and minerals development.
The 2nd revised draft is the document that was presented to the following additional consultative meetings:
- Three (3) Committees of Parliament on 31st October 2017;
- A 3rd Meeting with the House of Chiefs on 11th November 2017; and
- A pre-validation meeting with civil society, cooperating partners, academia and other special interest groups on 21st November 2017.
The meeting of 11th November 2017 with the House of Chiefs was positive and cordial, with the Chiefs indicating that the draft presented was an improvement from the previous draft shared in 2016.
It was concluded that any further and specific comments and suggestions should be communicated in writing to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for consideration by 17th November 2017 to enable the preparation of the final revised draft for the National Validation Meeting. Having received no further written comments from the House of Chiefs, my Ministry proceeded to plan for the National Validation Meeting.
It is important to mention here that the main new addition to the final revised draft that was presented to the validation meeting was on the issue of non-Zambian ownership of land and the policy measure to restrict ownership of land to Zambians only, while non-Zambians would only enjoy access and use rights with an option to sub-lease or rent land from the government, private land owners and traditional leaders. These proposals came from the consultative sessions with the three (3) select committees of Parliament and in the pre-validation meeting.
Therefore, Members of the Press, the reaction by the Traditional Leaders during the National Validation meeting was extremely surprising because the document that was sent to them in 2017 for use in the National Validation Meeting had to a large extent addressed the issues that were brought to the attention of the Technical Committee in September 2016.
The copies of the versions at each stage have been made available to you. I would like to urge you to take time to read carefully, make comparisons and observe, how for instance the version that was tabled at the National validation meeting has:
1. Made reference to Traditional Leaders and their proposed roles in land administration and management. These provisions are captured in paragraph 7.1.3 of the draft policy document;
2. How the Chieftaincy has not been abolished and the dual tenure system has been retained as in the Constitution; Paragraph’s 6.3.1 and 6.3.2 have made reference to both Leasehold and Customary tenure, thus indicating that the two tenure systems shall continue to exist;
3. How there is provision for the Chiefs to issue customary certificates which are proposed to have legal recognition, subject to the development/review of the relevant legislation regulations and guidelines which shall detail rights and obligations to be enjoyed under such certificates. This is captured at paragraph 6.3.2, specifically Objective 5 on page 29 of the draft policy document;
4. That various pieces of legislation shall be reviewed and harmonized. This is reflected at paragraph 7.5 on page 45 which describes next steps regarding the Legal Framework;
5. How the institutional framework has been reviewed and revised, removing the structures that were rejected. This can be found at paragraph 7.1 on page 43 where the Implementation Framework is proposed;
6. The emphasis on consultation and consent by traditional leaders and their subjects especially on large scale land investments in their kingdoms. This is reflected at paragraphs 6.3.4 and 6.3.6 of the draft policy document.
It was also surprising to learn that the Traditional leaders do not understand how out of 288 traditional leaders, only 22 were invited to the national validation meeting. I must say colleagues, that convening meetings of this magnitude is a costly affair and is therefore based on representation.
You may wish to note that the House of Chiefs comprises five (5) traditional leaders per province. The fifty (50) that sit in the House represent the 288 Chiefs. Two (2) members per province was therefore considered at least representative enough. Of the two per province invited, the Chairperson of the House of Chiefs was consulted and he personally provided guidance on the Chiefs to be invited.
In conclusion, the objective of validating the draft land policy with the participation of key stakeholders was not achieved.
Despite this set-back, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources remains committed to finalizing this process, and shall continue to seek opportunities to engage with the Traditional Leaders who are key stakeholders to the process. Clarification on the specific issues brought up by the Traditional Leaders at the National Validation Meeting shall be communicated in writing through the Office of the Clerk of the House of Chiefs. After concluding the discussions with the Traditional Leaders, it is our hope that another validation meeting shall be convened to move the process forward.
I THANK YOU