Friday, March 1, 2024

PF’s illegal Customary Land Conversions have Resulted in Thousands of Zambians being Displaced

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The Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) has expressed happiness to see President Hakainde Hichilema take keen interest in the rampant questionable conversions of customary land to state land as a result of large-scale land investments.

Speaking during a meeting with traditional leaders in Lusaka recently, President Hichilema accused the previous Patriotic Front (PF) regime of converting 55,000 hectares of customary land to state land without following the due process of the law.

The Head of State questioned who authorized the conversion of such a huge portion of customary land to state land and emphasised that his government will not encourage a situation where land is converted from customary tenure to state tenure without following due process.

In reaction, Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) Executive Director Patrick Musole said illegal land conversions have resulted in thousands of Zambians across the country being displaced from their land of origin.

Mr. Musole said over the years his Alliance has been speaking out on the rapid and massive conversions of customary land to state land as a result of large-scale land investments.

“Over the years the Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) has been speaking out on the rapid and massive conversions of customary land to state land as a result of large-scale land investments. These conversions have resulted in thousands of Zambians across the country being displaced from the land where they were born and grew up, without following the provision of the resettlement policy. ZLA is very pleased and feels vindicated that the Republican President is now singing from the same hymn sheet with the organisation by questioning Chiefs about how thousands of hectares were converted without consultation. We feel this is a good start in the right direction. Much as ZLA applauds President Hichilema for voicing concern, we feel that accountability for the illegal conversions needs to be extended to all players who played a role in the process,” Mr. Musole said.

“The public needs to understand that the Chiefs lay at the bottom of the chain of the land conversion process. The consent by the Chief is only the initial step. After the Chief signs the conversion consent form II, the form goes to the Council that has the mandate and responsibility to conduct due diligence on the land to ensure that there are no other interests that will be affected by the conversion, and that the size of land to be converted is within the Chief’s jurisdiction (which is 250 hectors maximum). After the Council has physically inspected the land in question, they endorse the consent and recommend the conversion to the Commissioner of Lands, the only person who has legal powers to issue a title in the name of the President,” he said.

Mr. Musole said both the chiefs and the Government share responsibility for the large-scale conversions of land.

“Therefore, accountability for the conversion of huge tracts of customary land cannot and should not end with the Chiefs. We would like the Councils to be held accountable for their decisions, because they should have conducted due diligence and endorsed the conversions through full council meetings. We also want the Commissioner of Lands to take more responsibility because the Commissioner is the only official who has powers to issue a Certificate of Title. The Commissioner of Lands has the right to reject consent for conversion of customary land, if it does not meet the legal requirements,” he said.

“The Commissioner of Lands therefore should be held responsible for illegal conversions of land, and not the Chiefs as the chiefs cannot issue certificates of title to formalise the land conversion process. ZLA has always stated that both the chiefs and the Government share responsibility for the large-scale conversions of land. The Government cannot convert customary land with the consent of the chiefs, and the Chiefs cannot convert land as they have no powers to issue titles. However, the back ends at the Commissioner of Lands are the only officials with powers to formalise the conversion, in the name of the President,” Mr. Musole said.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Mr Musole is lying. I have always listened to the Association’s program on the radio and at no time has the conversion of customary land been discussed in this context. Chiefs themselves have been giving out land to investors. When we get a new government, Mr Musole will find something bad to say about the Upnd vis-a-vis land issues.

    • Chiefs have been the ones selling lands at the expense of the subject. Here in Northwestern province the chiefs have become too greedy. They must go and stand with president and pretend to be clean. We know you and you know yourselves. You do not deserve to be chiefs if you start selling the land. Where will the future children live? PLEASE CHIEFS WE BEG YOU!!!

  2. The upnd faggots are still talking about pf. One would think we are still in power. It is a sign we are coming back.

  3. 10 village headmen wanted to convert about 1,000 hectares of land to obtain a collective title deed to protect their land from land grabbers. What Government regulations are available to convert 1,000 hectares of customary land to title deed since a chief can only give consent up to 250 hectares? The government and ZLA should clarify what alternatives local people have when their chief denies to give them the consent to convert customary land to state land even when local people have genuine concerns. To whom or to what authority should local people raise complaints if their chief and the local council fails to address their requests to convert land?

  4. We said it before, PF was incapable of doing anything good for Zambia. Pick any area of endeavour, there is a stinking element about PF and its leadership starting with late president Sata himself (MHSR). PF was a disaster to Zambia and to tell tales about PF regime is nauseating and depressing – Good riddance gone for ever.

    • @Muna Dekhane. BS. I bought large pieces of customary land during MMD time so stop blaming everything on PF. HH himself has appropriated huge chunks of customary land and displaced many people including denying them access to water and grazing grounds. Why do you always support this useless pwaaaz? Maybe you are also one…

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