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A Letter To Traditional Leaders On Controversies Regarding Land Issues 4

Columns A Letter To Traditional Leaders On Controversies Regarding Land Issues 4

 

Dr. Henry Kanyanta Sosala

PART IV

The Capitalist-Exploiter’s Spirit of Consistency

The capitalist-exploiter has an instinct or genius for colonizing. His unequalled energy, his indomitable perseverance makes him a pioneer. The capitalist-exploiter is a great strategist and he is as well blessed with the gift of wit and he leads with truth but never to truth. And one really admires his consistency of how the baton of warning by Lord Macaulay and Reverend Josiah Strong on Anglo-Saxon’s hegemony have been handed-over from one generation to another for over one hundred years.

 

Here is Lord Macaulay’s address to the British Parliament on 2nd February, 1830: ‘’I have travelled across the length and breadth of Africa and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, if the Africans think that all that is foreign is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want, a truly dominated nation.’’

And 82 years later (i.e., 1830-2012). And according to the foreign-engineered Mung’omba Report of the Technical Committee in the Draft of the Zambian Constitution, Part V on Bill of Rights, Article 63 reads: Language and Culture states in 63 (3): A person shall not be compelled to- (a) perform, observe, participate in, or be subjected to, any cultural practice or rite; or (b) form, join, contribute, maintain or pay allegiance to any cultural, traditional or linguistic association, organization, institution or entity.

Incidentally who goes overseas to go and ’’force’’ the tourists who flock to watch the famous Kuomboka ceremony? The question is what was the motive behind the inclusion of such in the Constitution and chiefs should carefully and particularly note: ‘’….NOT to maintain or pay allegiance to any cultural, traditional or linguistic institution..’’

 

And on the other hand, Reverend Josiah Strong seized on positions of Darwin’s writings to argue the case of Anglo-Saxon hegemony and in his book Our Country which appeared in 1885 was an immediate success: ‘’…the tendencies unfold the future; they are the mighty alphabet with which God writes His prophecies….It seems to me that God with infinite wisdom and skill is training the Anglo-Saxon race for an hour sure to come in the world’s future…..every civilization has its destructive and preservative elements. Bring savages into contact with our civilization and its destructive forces become operative at once…. Where there is one missionary, there are hundreds of miners or traders or adventurers ready to debauch the native. Whether the extinction of inferior races before the advancing Anglo-Saxon seems to the reader sad or otherwise, it certainly appears probable. I know of nothing except climatic conditions to prevent this race from populating Africa as it has peopled North America.’’ (Quoted from Our Country in Political and Social Thought in America in 1870-1970 edited by Edmund ions pp 72/73) (emphasis mine)

And 117 years later (i.e., 1885-2002). The Draft Land policy 2002 appeared which was drawn at the Ministry of Lands. It was a masterpiece schemed by cover-up experts and as far as Zambian history is concerned on deception, that Paper was rightly hailed as the most subtle, deceptive and treacherous attempt by politicians to alienate customary land from the poor masses. And in this regard, the deadly trigger was in Chapter 3 and the second paragraph of article 3.1: ‘’The demand for land has increased considerably and there are applicants seeking both state land and customary land. However, in its current state, the land delivery system is unable to meet the increase in the demand by the public for land title. The high demand for land calls for conversion of customary land into state land to meet future land requirements.’’ (emphasis mine).

The deadly implication is that before conversion, the land is the property of the community and subject to the community rights. After it has been converted the community which had equal rights on the land will have lost them. And this can quickly bring to mind what the former South African President, P.W. Botha said: ‘’ …. the white man will continue to use the African’s love of money to destroy himself. Here is a creature who lacks foresight.’’ And according to Finance Minister, Ng’andu Magande, the money given to NGOs was not properly accounted for and the donors don’t ask how and where it had been taken. (Zambia Daily Mail 21st June 2007).

And the cunning quickly took advantage of it. A named individual bought an island on Lake Tanganyika, which in turn sold to white South Africans who were just about to evict the inhabitants when President Mwanawasa intervened. On the other hand, the then His Royal Highness Chief Nabwalya narrated to the meeting of chiefs in Mpika that immediately after the Draft Land Act 2002 was published, a group of whites accompanied by surveyors came by helicopters in the middle of the night, pitched tents and began to demarcate the land without even the courtesy of calling on him. But fortunately it was a coincidence that the next day President Mwanawasa visited Mpika and was informed about it. And by the following day while Chief Nabwalya was still in Mpika, he was informed that the intruders had left the area under the cover of darkness.

And here is what the United Nations special rapporteur, Hilal Elver cautioned that many Zambian peasants were at risk of becoming squatters on their own land as Zambia was being turned into Southern African’s food basket. ‘’The push to turn commercial large scale agricultural into a driving engine of the Zambian economy is a situation where the protection of access to land is weak, can risk pushing small-holder farmers and peasants off their land and out of production with severe impacts on the people’s right to food….. This situation is particularly worrying considering that small-holder farmers account for almost 60 percent of the population and are dependent on land for their subsistence and livelihood. In a country like Zambia that highly values its peace and social cohesion, the impacts of increasing land tensions could be detrimental.’’ (Daily Nation 13th May 2017) (emphasis mine)

The Draft Land Policy of 2002 was advertised in the press in October 2002 and we had our Bemba Ilamfya Supreme Council meeting on 8th March 2003. At that meeting, we resolved that we would not first inform the people about the serious contents in the Land Policy, until we would hear if the Members of Parliament in rural constituencies would inform the electorate. And we heard not even a single whisper from even the opposition and surprisingly not even from the church.

It was in June 2003, I wrote a strong objection. I stated that customary land is protected by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute Compilation of Human Rights Instruments under the Convention Concerning Indigeneous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries as stated in article 7:1:’’The peoples concerned have the right to decide their own priorities for the process of development as it affects the lives, beliefs, institutions and spiritual well-being and the lands they occupy or otherwise use, and to exercise control, to the extent possible, over their own economic, social and cultural development.’’ And article 14:1 states: ‘’The rights of ownership and possession of the peoples concerned over their lands which they traditionally occupy shall be recognized.’’ Article 17:1 further states: ‘’Procedures established by the peoples concerned for the transmission of land rights among members of these peoples shall be respected.’’

In article 17:3 the Human Rights Instruments further protects tribal people from foreigners who might try to use unreasonable local stooges who think more of filling their stomachs than anything else to help alienate land: ‘’Persons not belonging to these peoples shall be prevented from taking advantage of their customs or lack of understanding of the laws on the part of their members to secure the ownership, possession or use of land belonging to them.’’

And on the World Bank’s land reforms in Zambia, here is what the chartered Environmental Biologist, Ian Manning wrote about the meeting he attended on land reforms that was organized by the World Bank: ‘’……the proposal to place all customary land under the Ministry of Lands with customary leaders becoming mere land administrators is ludicrous. I pointed out that there were no customary leaders, the Natural Resources Consultative Forum (NRCT) or civil society groups. The Bank said they realized that consultations were inadequate and that they would rectify the matter before the report was submitted. And this was never done. The main blame should fall on the Ministry of Lands for the failure to conduct wide reaching dialogue and yet engaged to another stitch-up between government and donors. Leaving the ordinary citizens in the cold.’’ Manning called for Zambians to be cautious about land management and administration. (The Post 17th January 2007).

Professor Hansungule asked Zambians to reject the World Bank’s recommendations over land management. He said revelations that the Washington-based institution had suddenly found the answers to Zambia’s land tenure problems was an assault on the intelligence on the Zambian people and their ancestors whose wisdom to keep the land was why Zambians still had it today (ibid)

And its only Messrs. Ian Manning, Simeo Siame, Clement Chipokolo, Henry Machina, Sishuwa Sishuwa and Professor Michelo Hansungule who have so far been strongly opposed to the alienation of customary land. It is so unfortunate that some chiefs have in the process being bribed or through ignorance have privately signed documents relating to the sensitive land reforms. And we are at the moment investigating one such recent case.

I strongly believe that it’s now time that the House of Chiefs should put in place measures to arrest the situation of ‘’the heartless and corrupt chiefs’’ from privately signing these documents. And the only effective way is the declaration that all issues pertaining to the land policy must first be tabled at the Provincial Chiefs’ Committees.

Let me draw your attention to what Professor Hansungule wrote in Keynote Paper: Constitutionalism and Constitutional Development: ‘’While on the 1995 Land Act, a word about abuse of power by the executive is opportune. When this Act was being debated in Parliament, people especially in rural areas rejected it. Chiefs cried foul with the authorities pointing out that the government intended to take away the powers of the local people over their land in favour of foreign investors under its western inspired market reform programmes. Consequently after much pressure across the country, a programme to consult the people especially traditional leaders would be mounted before bringing the Bill to Parliament. However, government decided to fast track the Bill in Parliament by waiving the 21 days rule on publication of Bills before being presented for reading. Even before people realized it, the Bill was law. Clearly, good governance was the bigger loser.’’

However, afterwards when I engaged President Chiluba on the same issue, he assured me that the government had obtained a ‘’go ahead’’ from some Senior Chiefs across the nation. And as stated earlier, the only way to kill the serpent of corruption among ourselves would be to ensure that land policy issues are tabled at the provincial level. And in this respect, the government’s lame excuse of lack of funds must never be entertained.

Immediately after we attained our independence in 1964, the Bemba political hero and Zambia’s ‘’Aristotle,’’ the late Mr. Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe taught us three unforgettable and immortal lessons: ‘’You must love your land dearly, because if you lose it, you will not find another. God has stopped creating countries.’’ He reminded us that we should ponder about the past i.e., how we suffered through the struggle for independence. He went on to say, ‘’should you mismanage the affairs of this country, the colonialists will creep in under a new name.’’ (The Kapwepwe Diaries by Gideon Bwalya Mwangilwa p. 94). And indeed, the colonialist has been ‘’born-again,’’ ‘’baptized’’ and given himself a new name of ‘’investor.’’

Mr. Kapwepwe was blessed with a very powerful foresight and he was merely stating the fact which we at the tail-end of history are actually witnessing today that the colonialist leaves by the front-door, but re-enters by the back-door. Dr. Kaunda wrote: ‘’It appeared that the colonialist had freed Africans in order to make them servants.’’ (A Humanist in Africa p. 45).

The veteran politician and one of the founding fathers of this nation, Ba Sikota Wina said: ‘’…….and much against expectations of our founding fathers in the 1960s, today everywhere in Africa you look, there is poverty, inadequate education facilities and failing health institutions. Today no less than half of the countries in Africa can exist even for a month without donor aid. They would collapse. And currently, foreigners have dominated the Zambian economy and Zambians themselves are completely on the periphery. Apart from a few who might have looted in the course of history, there are very few African entrepreneurs in the country. Zambia is a nation of employees only.’’ (The Post 25th May 2005).

(TO BE CONTINUED)

 

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. No one has the divine right to rule. All kings were never elected. They used force and violence somewhere in history. They killed, murdered people and forced people to follow them in submission. When the few useful I D I O T S had gathered around them to become loyal executioners of the bloodthirsty man’s orders, a kingdom was born. Thereafter, the children of that tyrant inherit the throne and pass it on along the blood line. Centuries later we have these men sitting on that throne and claiming that God gave them the right to rule! Which God?

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