Lusaka residents petition President Lungu to stop construction of Kingslands City in a Forest Reserve

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Kingsland City
Kingsland City

Some Lusaka residents under the Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust have petitioned President Edgar Lungu over fears that developments on one of the few aquifers in Lusaka will lead to the depletion of groundwater resources in the capital city.

Kingsland City located adjacent to Zambia Air Force Twin Palm Base along Twin Palm Road is being developed via a public private partnership between government through ZAF, and three developers, namely; Datong Construction, Drimtown Investments, and Shangria Investments for facility concessions ranging from 20 to 28 years.

Kingsland City, set on 583 hectares of land, will have mixed-use facilities such as hotels, a world class university, conference center, housing, sports complex, amusement park, vehicle service stations, shopping malls, golf course, and ZAF Academy and Messes among others.

The project is estimated at US$1.4 billion.

During construction phase, over 2, 000 jobs will be created.

But residents of Lusaka’s Chalimbana area have petitioned President Lungu to immediately stop the development as it is encroaching on a Forest Reserve No. 27 which is the source of the main recharge area for the Chalimbana River system.

They contended that the Chalimbana River system is critical to the socio-economic livelihood of the Chongwe and Chalimbana river catchment area.

The residents have since asked President Lungu to take measures to protect and conserve Lusaka East Forest Reserve No. 27 by ordering the immediate stop to the illegal construction of Kingsland City Project by ZAF.

They have also petitioned President Lungu to cancel and reserve Statutory Instrument No. 62 of 2017 altering the boundaries of Lusaka East Forest Reserve No. 27.

The residents also want President Lungu to order the immediate stop to further additional developments within the boundaries of Local Forest No. 27 Lusaka East as defined in SI No. 161 of 1996.

The petition to President Lungu follows a letter the residents had written to Attorney General Likando Kalaluka last September threatening to sue government for encroaching on a forest reserve where the Zambia Air Force has built staff houses and another developer is turning the land into an affluent suburb.

Kingsland City under construction
Kingsland City under construction

In a letter addressed to the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Lands and dated September 12, 2017, H.H Ndhlovu and Company stated that their clients, Chalimbana River Headwaters Trust, were shocked that the construction of Kingsland project had begun without an approved environmental assessment.

“The area where the Zambia Air Force houses have been constructed on Twin Palm Road, as well as the location of the recently commenced Kingsland City Project, also on Twin Palm Road is within the Local Forest Reserve No. 27 and there is no record of any legal process that has been undertaken to degazette that forest and change its land use. The Kingsland project as you are aware is a huge project involving multi-purpose activities including housing, hospital, school and various other social and recreational activities. It is further alarming to note that the Kingsland Project has commenced without an approved environmental assessment as required under the Environmental Management Act of 2011 and it is therefore illegal,” H.H Ndhlovu and Company stated.

“The community has thereby been denied the right to participate in environmental decision making as required by law. The activities currently taking place are not only a breach of Zambia’s commitments to regional protocols but also pose a danger to the integrity of the Chalimbana Catchment area and the entire local ecosystem. The result of the activities will lead to irreparable damage to the local environment and the Chalimbana River and its tributaries and is a complete abrogation of the intended purpose for protection of the forest by law. As it stands now, the Chalimbana River has already been contaminated by sewage from the ZAF Twin Palm housing estate. This causes a grave risk of dysentery, typhoid, cholera and other communicable diseases to the riparian community along Chalimbana River and especially the people of Chieftainess Nkomeshya’s area.”

The law firm stated that its clients were shocked by the activities which were going on in the forest.

“The brief history of the local forest is that it was gazzetted as a local forest in order to use it exclusively for conservation so that the land is protected and to protect water supplies in the local area. Studies have also shown that Local Forest Reserve No. 27 is a recharge area for the Chalimbana River and its tributaries and as such is a very important forest. Further, the forest is located within the Lower Zambezi River Basin which is covered under the SADC and Zambezi River Commission protocols to which Zambia is a party. In addition, Zambia under its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Paris Agreement under its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) has been using forests including Forest Reserve 27 to sequester the emission of greenhouse gasses. This was even referred to by President Edgar Lungu when he addressed the United Nations Secretariat in September last year. Our clients have therefore been perturbed at the activities that are taking place in the local forest,” read the letter.

“You may wish to know that in 1983 the forest was degazetted to be used for munitions training by the defence forces. However, the local community noticed that there was almost total destruction of the forest as a result of encroachment and deforestation taking place due to the degazetting. The small holder farmers and residents organized and signed a petition demanding that the President re-gazette the forest reserve so that it could be saved from destruction. It should be noted that a total of over 2,500 petitioners throughout the Chalimbana River Catchment Area signed the petition. The petitioners gave very clear reasons why they were petitioning. Then President [Fredrick] Chiluba listened to the demands and reasons given by the petitioners and the local community. The President, through his Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Hon William Harrington ordered the re-gazetting of Local Forest Reserve No. 27 by Statutory Instrument No. 196 of 1996. We are advised by our clients that the local community, local small holder farmers and the environmental civil society organizations had even resorted to a costly public interest litigation which ended up in the Supreme Court in order to save the forest.”

H.H Ndhlovu and Company also stated that the Chalimbana community was shocked to learn that government had published a statutory instrument which aimed to reduce the boundaries of the forest.

“It is also important to note that Forest Reserve No 27 is one of the only two remaining open green spaces in Lusaka for Education, heritage and its invaluable ecosystem services as shown in the studies that have been made. The above being the case our clients have been alarmed to discover that in addition to the illegal activities already taking place in the local forest, government has now promulgated Statutory Instrument No. 62 of 2017, the aim of which is to further reduce the area of the Forest Reserve No. 27. This alteration will consequently reduce the effectiveness of the original purpose of the said forest reserve which has been fought for by the local community, shareholder farmers and all those concerned with the protection of our environment,” read the letter.

The law firm stated that it had instructions to begin legal proceedings if all developmental activities currently and intended to be undertaken were not halted.

“Our instructions are to request government to stop all developmental activities currently and intended to be undertaken in the forest. The Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust has submitted an application to the Forest Department for Community Forest management of Local Forest Reserve No. 27 pursuant to Section 29(1)(c) and (4) of the Forest Act 2015. The Forest Department has since acknowledged receipt of the Trust’s application confirming that modalities for the setting up of the forest management committees is being worked on further to which the committee will be established. Our clients instructions are that should the current and planned destruction of Local Forest No. 27 proceed beyond the next four days, then our further instructions are to commence action in the courts of law,” read the letter.

Petition to President Edgar Lungu
Petition to President Edgar Lungu
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55 COMMENTS

  1. This is how corrupt Zambia has become. Greed has taken over reason. Money has already been chewed so the Project will go ahead as planned.

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    • Lusaka Times, when you go and copy and paste project information from company websites to promote their projects, do quote them as saying “the project will employ this number of people, blah blah…”
      When you just copy things, it seems like these are verified facts when it’s data they use to justify construction

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    • We need to learn to defend our resources. This is the only country we have. It belongs to all of us

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    • Residents protest over wrong things. Protest over healthcare and basic education for all. I guess these protesters can afford private healthcare and school and dont give a dam.n about the common man!

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    • The only means stop this is to usher in a competent and an environmentally-inclined government. The country is being destroyed before our very eyes. Elections–especially stolen and rigged elections–have very long-lasting effects on social and environmental sustainability. These are very wasted years in Zambia’s political history. ECL should never have been allowed to use rigged election to unstainably destroy this country. Is there no such as a recall election, constitutional lawyers please? Our children may never find this country.

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    • Dear petitioners, first you need to act faster than you are doing. Construction has already started meaning all nichekelekos are done and dusted so noone can reverse this unless every brown envelope is returned. Some of these envelopes were delivered to state house itself and everyone was happy the deal had been concluded. Then your petition appears to try and stop it! It won’t happen

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    • Degazatte the damn land and move forward with the development … these people don’t even know what they really want. They want development and no they don’t want development … kwati mashilu!!!!

      Bantu ba shani bashele pa Zed. Go find other forests to reserve. Ala!!!

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    • B R Mumba Sr, don’t reduce yourself to the level of a commadian. conservation is not an event!

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    • Plagiarism LT don’t you know how to cite?? Or Reference articles? It’s illegal and you can be arrested. Do you copy things with no Facts? Wonder what kind of Journalists you are.

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  2. Where are these people when companies are applying for permits…works have already started ..lets be more organised than this!

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    • I was thinking the same. They seem to wake up too late.

      Talking about construction works, that structure above looks lopsided. If that’s what the new city will look like, then the standards are really low.

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    • Heeee aiyi, ine nalidabwa.
      Are there no hearings in these stuff? 2 weeks ago I attended a public hearing at our townhall over cutting 2 trees. It was fascinating because even dog walker petitioned that their dogs pees there, dogs trees.
      Another old woman brought pictures of 4 birds live there. Council decided to postpone and start to observe behavior of those birds and dogs.
      Fascinating!!!
      I knew about it because it was on local TV.
      But ku mwesu kwena, such big land is sold, no one knows, not even Parliament.

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    • I guess that’s because the project commenced without the approval of Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA). Had Kingsland applied to ZEMA as required by law before the commencement of construction, I am sure environmentalists would have made necessary submissions against this project.

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    • If the law requires approval by ZEMA but that approval wasn’t obtained then it is an illegal project, and can be stopped on that basis.

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    • Because such things under this corrupt government don’t go for public comments. You just wake up one morning to find bulldozers moving earth.

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    • Iwe naiwe Nine Chale Kofi uziba style? If you do architectural science you will know what they are doing.

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    • @2.1 I ALSO OBSERVED THE SAME. IT SEEMS LIKE THERE’S QUALITY CONTROL. EVERYTHING IN THE PICTURE SEEMS TO BE KWATI BALEKULO MUSAKUTA- A MAKE-SHIFT SHELTER.

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  3. Something is not right…what does the environmental assessment say?
    Can the environmental concerns still be addressed without stopping the project?
    Or is it that people have just realized they need a piece of the cake?

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  4. WHAT CAN LEAD TO DEPLETION OF WATER, NOT ONLY IN CHALIMBANA IS THE INDISCRIMINATE CUTTING DOWN OF TREES FOR CHARCOAL BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND THE NON-COLLECTION OF ABUNDANT RAIN WATER INTO GIGANTIC DAMS TO JUST LET IT FLOW INTO THE INDIAN OCEAN. IF THE CUTTING DOWN OF TREES BY PEOPLE FOR CHARCOAL OR EXPORT TO CHINA IS NOT CONTROLLED THEN EXPECT UNDERGOUND WATER TO FINISH. SIMILARLY, THE THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT COME UP WITH PRACTICAL POLICIES TO HARNESS RAIN WATER INTO HUGE DAMS COUNTRY-WIDE, EXPECT DISASTER, TOO. BUILDING CITIES IF PROPERLY DONE WOULD ENCOURAGE RENTENTION OF SURFACE AND UNDERGROUND WATER. DO NOT POLITICISE NEFIKAMIWAMINA.

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  5. MWAFUMA KULI NRDC (YOU HAVE NOW COME FROM NRDC) MWAYA NOMBA KULI KINGSLAND CITY. MAKING A FINANCIAL HUB WHERE NRDC IS AND BUILDING A BRAND NEW NRDC IS ONE OF THE BRIGHTEST IDEAS BUT BECAUSE ALL IN OPPOSITION ARE LED BY BLIND LEADERS, YOU CAN’T SEE THE LONG TERM BENEFITS TOGETHER WITH YOUR BLIND LEADERS.

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    • Why are you embarrassing my name? The chilenje reserve was cleared to built a multi-denoominational prayer house. Now the chalimbana reserve. Lusaka will be the next capetown to run out of water. Just wait

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  6. A system that has gone sick, when corruption is propagated from the highest office in the land! The project to be halted. If it went ahead, how does Lusaka’s water going to be re – charged? This is the most scandalous head of state since independence!!

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    • Why seeing corruption in everything? The petitioners have raised valid points why they are against the construction. None of them is corruption. Please do not spoil their fight with baseline corruption allegations.

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  7. ONE WONDER IS WHY ARE ALL DEVELOPMENTS BEING CROWDED IN LUSAKA?? This is what is leading to the annexation of forests and river catchments as if we have a shortage of land!! WHY CANT THIS DEVELOPMENT BE TAKEN TO ANOTHER TOWN OR CITY or WHY CANT THE DEVELOPERS BE ASKED TO BUY OFF SOME SHANTIES AND DEVELOP THEM WHILE WE LEAVE CERTAIN SECTIONS OF LUSAKA PRISTINE!!Already there are people building high rise buildings in Kalingalinga who have bought off the older cheap and poorly built structures, BUT THIS IS BEING DONE WITHOUT A COORDINATED PLAN! So WHY CANT THE COUNCIL AGREE ON A WELL THOUGHT THROUGH COMPENSATION PLAN WITH RESIDENTS OF CERTAIN SHANTIES and then BRING DEVELOPERS TO IMPROVE THESE AREAS rather than what we are seeing!!

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  8. Ba lungu should be careful.God doesn’t want His people to suffer.Let him build otherwise he may not enjoy them if he is stealing from Zambian pipo.

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  9. Peter – Ebukopo tweba. Every development has rules to protect the environment. The problem is even where genuine concerns are raised, we want to bring in politics.

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  10. Lungu and PF can even sell Kafue river because of the corruption ravaging their ranks starting from lungu……everthing with lungu is shrouded in secrecy , nothing anywhere near truth comes from him.

    At the next change if government , lungu will be found to be the most corrupt president in southern Africa.

    What kind of a leader is he who keeps silent when he is called a corrupt thief everyday but complains when called the most richest man in Zambia ??

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  11. So they’ll now seize Kambwili by the balls and he’ll squeal like a pig. Why does Kambwili walk like that? At first I used to suspect that he had just undergone an MC, now it seems he went for enlargement. Ati Consultant. This scatter head is just another disaster. Total disrespect for the law.

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  12. The project is estimated at US$1.4 billion …imagine if this was a factory the value addition it would bring to the economy rather than waiting jobs and shop attendants.

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  13. Lungu and his gang of thieves don’t care about nothing but corruption and money……they have the power and there is nothing anyone can do……just join in and make as much money as you can then get out , even if you drstory the place nothing can be done while the thief lungu is in statehouse.

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  14. This is the same mentality you find in some parts of the country that has left them underdeveloped.
    At some point govt could not even be allowed to build a bus station in Mongu. Very sad indeed what is now happening. The have now seen that infrastructure development will not end and that it will be difficult for the opposition to decampaign the ruling party so they want to frustrate everything.

    I have got news for you Mr. Petitioner: Land in Zambia belongs to the President.

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    • No the land does not belong to the President. He holds it in trust for the people of Zambia. The people of Zambia own the land.

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  15. Stop the ROT President Lungu means well, he sourced investors from China and villagers fyo fyo fyo fyo fyo..go to hell tubombeko

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  16. Lungu has sold our country to foreigners. And these so called Zambians who are authorising such transactions are equally foreigners from some neighbouring countries. Zambia is under siege! Foreigners are ruling us. No wonder there is this magnitude of confusion in our country. IT IS A SCRAMBLE FOR ZAMBIA BY FOREIGNERS, TAKING ADVANTAGE OF FOREIGNER RULING ZAMBIA.

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  17. UPND, please please stop embarrassing yourselves. Whatever development PF Government embarks on, to you its corruption, which corruption? How else would you want a viable project of this nature to be carried out, in the thin air? PF manifesto is very clear about its development agenda and there are simply implementing what we voted them for. If anything, who wouldn’t want to see Lusaka transformed into real city? In its current form, Lusaka is like a village not worthy even to be called a Capital City.
    All and I mean all, major cities in the world including some beatiful African cities are built along water bodies and life thrives like no man’s business but here you have some s1lly opposition saying Chongwe river will be affected, how? Too many Umwana ashenda in UPND!

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  18. Maliso do you hear the concerns about depleting underground water, we are not that desperate for infrastructural development that we neglect such vital things like water. This is a 1.4 billion dollar project we should have known about, how do you spend 1.4 billion and don’t inform the citizens. The secrecy is a greater indication of corruption, only crooks don’t review everything, you have to uncover the truth yourself and that’s what is happening in Zambia, nothing is revealed only discovered. Just like Jay stated it would have been nice to spend this money on a factory than this waste, Ethiopia build a factory town employing more than a million people

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  19. Looks like most of you prefer developments like Chalala, Kamwala South, Woodlands Extension…etc which have already evolved into shanty compounds!
    Appreciate the value of well planned developments. The environmental protection argument is frequently used to keep you backwards. The “Three Gorges Dam Project” wouldn’t have been built if China had listened to the World Bank, you dunderheads.

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  20. It’s just that we don’t have investigative journalists in Zambia. Otherwise they would have discovered that it’s not only Kingsland that has benefited from the degazation of the forest. The who’s who of Zambian politics have shared a total of 38 plots ranging from 1ha to 441ha. I can guess who has gotten the largest plot. This info is not a state secret and can be gotten at the Ministry of Lands

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  21. I always drive past this development everyday and it is a well planned project. Wish we had 10 of such projects. This is UPND propaganda to ensure PF do not succeed in developing the country.. It won’t work

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  22. The land on which Kingsland City is being developed belongs to Zambia Irforce Force. I recall that there was a groundbreaking ceremony a few months ago which was graced by Airforce Commander Chimese and ECL.

    Still, I am concerned by the concentration of all development in Lusaka. This is what is aggravating the problem of overpopulation of the city and horrible traffic congestion and overcrowding of the city. I wonder why such mega projects cannot be extended to cities like Kitwe which now has about 17,000 extra hectares of undeveloped area in Mufuchani, crying out for development, after the construction of the World Bank bridge across the Kafue River! Why are our investments so Lusaka centred?

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  23. I meant to say: “The land on which Kingsland City is being developed belongs to Zambia Airforce Force”.

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  24. Why didn’t they raise these issues when the project was first launched? It could be too late now. This is Zambia for you. If it was in these other countries this project could have been stopped a long time ago

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  25. What we need is a complete mindset change by the people involved in these projects. We have systems in place and must be followed to the later. When the president or who ever is interested in the project the people involved MUST follow the due process regardless of who is involved. I am sure ECL would not dictate for abrogation of our own rules, if he did as a lawyer then it is something else.

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  26. It is a shame when you comments supporting this kind of development. I have seen streams dry up completely in an area where i grew up in Chongwe because of this Chipante Pante type of developments. We must think of generations not yet born and protect our resources. Just look at the names of developers, mostly Chinese who will not be here in 50 years after they made their money. Shame on us, future generations will judge us very harshly

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Comments are closed.