Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Zambia Land Alliance expects UPND Government to prioritize and finance a comprehensive land audit process

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Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) says it is expecting the government to prioritise and finance a comprehensive land audit process to ascertain exactly how much land the country has under state and customary tenures.

ZLA Executive Director Patrick Musole said there is need to review how much land is taken and how much is available; how much land is for present use and how much should be reserved for future use.

Mr. Musole said without a comprehensive land audit the country will continue to make uninformed decisions on land which will be detrimental for land tenure security and sustainable land use.

Reviewing the year 2021, Mr. Musole said the New Dawn administration has a task to protect the rights of vulnerable Zambians, especially the poor, women, youth, and persons with disabilities.

He also cited the adoption of the National Lands Policy in 2021 as a landmark achievement.

“Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) and its partners in land advocacy celebrate the year 2021 for the landmark achievement made in the protracted journey to Zambia’s adoption of a comprehensive National Lands Policy (NLP) framework. In May this year, the Government adopted Zambia’s first ever NLP after 19 long years of policy formulation process. The NLP is a very important framework which will guide land administration in our great nation,” Mr. Musole said.

“The people of Zambia have been consistently clear in their desire to see an end to the many illegalities, corruption, injustice, and inequalities in land administration which reached their climax under the previous regime. ZLA therefore welcomes the political will demonstrated by the New Dawn leadership to address the diverse anomalies that became part of a “new normal” in land administration, orchestrated mainly by agents of the state in the interest of a few politically exposed selfish individuals.”

Mr. Musole said Zambia Land Alliance wants to see sanity in land administration in the country.

“A case in point is that of the Forest 27 scandal, where high-ranking politicians and other government officials shared land from the degazetted forest without following the due process of the law or considering the impact of their activities on the environment. Further, reports of loss of records of suspected illegal land allocation at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources showed serious flaws in the security of the land management information system. Cases of illegal allocations of land continue to be reported across the country with some citizens losing their land while others have lost money in the quest to acquire land. Sections of the media have reported pending demolitions of illegal structures,” he said.

“The promotion of large-scale land-based investments and land markets has threatened the rights of land holders on customary land and increased land displacements. The New Dawn administration therefore has a mammoth task to protect the rights of vulnerable Zambians, especially the poor, women, youth, and persons with disabilities, and secure their access to and control over land and land[1]related resources through, among other means, investing in their economic capacity to secure, develop land and engage in sustainable livelihoods,” Mr. Musole stated.

He further advocated for the scaling up of the ongoing National Land Titling Programme.

“The National Land Titling Program has also gained momentum and has since been rolled out from Lusaka to the Copperbelt province. This is a very progressive program which will see many Zambians on undocumented state land acquiring title deeds for their land parcels. However, the coverage of the National Titling Program is very limited and will therefore not benefit the majority of Zambians.”

“ZLA expects the New Dawn government to prioritise legal, policy and administrative reforms around land governance to restore sanity in the land sector, protect people’s land rights, as well as ensuring sustainable land use and environmental protection. In addition, ZLA expects the government to prioritise and finance a comprehensive land audit process to ascertain exactly how much land the country has under state and customary tenures; how much land is taken and how much is available; how much land is for present use and how much should be reserved for future use, etc. Without a comprehensive land audit the country will continue to make uninformed decisions on land which will be detrimental for land tenure security and sustainable land use.” he said.

Mr. Musole further called on all Zambians to desist from illegal land acquisition.

“ZLA would therefore like to call upon all Zambians to desist from illegal land acquisition and follow the laid down procedures in acquiring land to avoid losing their hard-earned money through land repossession or demolishment of buildings,” he concluded.

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