The Government has halted the eviction of settlers in Luswishi farm block in Lufwanyama district on the Copperbelt province until investigations are concluded on how commercial farmers were given the pieces of land. Over 100 families that have lived and cultivated in the farming block for generations are being forced to move out of the area by the investors.
Addressing the settlers at Lumwana Primary school, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Elijah Muchima assured the settlers that the government will put their interest first and protect their rights.
Mr. Muchima directed his officers to form a verification committee which will have representation from the agriculture department, Local authority, and settlers.
He said the work of the committee will be to establish what transpired in the leasing of the farm block and if people were compensated.
The Lands Minister was in the company of Copperbelt province Minister Elisha Matambo and Lufwanyama Member of Parliament Ken Siachisumo.
Meanwhile, Lufwanyama District Commissioner Justine Mwalikwa disclosed that the farm block started operating in 2008 and six commercial farmers have established themselves in the area.
Meanwhile, Government has said that it will enforce some demolition orders for structures that are illegally developed on water recharge and water resource areas across the country while evicting those who have encroached on forest areas.
Green Economy and Environment Minister Collins Nzovu have told Phoenix News that he is currently receiving technical reports on water-sensitive areas and forests so that he presents them to the cabinet for government to take its position and that most of the cases will result in evictions and demolitions of illegal structures.
Mr. Nzovu said that government approves some demolition orders and will carry them out once all the necessary reports are compiled to restore forests areas, water recharge points, and subsequently, the environment especially at a time when climate change poses serious challenges to the wellbeing of the globe.
Mr. Nzovu added that what is true is that ordinary members of society took advantage of the illegality in land administration by politically exposed persons that have resulted in massive encroachment on almost all the country’s forests without any due scientific research on how this affects the environment.