14 December 2013

Zambia: Customary Land Ban Final - Kalaba

GOVERNMENT has said the decision to ban the illegal sale of customary land is final and it will not be rescinded.

Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Harry Kalaba has said in an interview yesterday that he will soon be announcing the legislative measures Government will put in place to strengthen its administrative decision on customary land.

"Government's decision is final and it's not an issue that we are going to think of rescinding because we are moving ahead and very soon I will be communicating to the nation to inform the nation on what legislative measures we will have put in place to consolidate the administrative measures we have taken," Mr Kalaba said.

Mr Kalaba said on Friday he held a meeting with the House of Chiefs where he explained the rationale behind Government's ban on the sale of customary land and that most of the chiefs present understood and hence was surprised to learn that some traditional leaders were urging the State to rescind the decision.

Chief Liteta Advisory Council chairperson Barnabas Musopelo implored Government to reverse its decision on the sale of customary land, saying failure to lift the ban would derail development in the country's rural areas.

Mr Kalaba said Government was aware that some chiefs were not perpetuating the illegal sale of customary land but that the State needed to enforce a policy which would help in the proper management of land.

"Government has to pass legislation to just strengthen those that are not doing it and stop those that are doing it," Mr Kalaba said.

On December 10, this year, Mr Kalaba directed the Commissioner of Lands and all councils countrywide not to process any papers from customary areas for land which had illegally been bought from customary areas.

Government, he said, would soon start repossessing land which was illegally sold, adding that his ministry would also be auditing land acquired in that manner.

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