Lands minister warns illegal land allocation culprits

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INDIVIDUALS involved in illegal land allocation will no longer go unpunished as Lands Minister Harry Kalaba has vowed to get tough and crack the whip on all culprits.

Illegal land allocation thrived under the MMD rule, when even party cadres had the audacity to grab land from legal owners and allocate plots to unsuspecting would-be buyers, thereby breeding a litany of physical wrangles and court battles, some of which were fatal.
Recently, former PF Wusakile member of Parliament Barnabas Chellah was hacked to death when he went to claim land from people that had allegedly encroached on his farm in Kitwe’s Maposa area.
But Mr Kalaba has this message to the perpetrators: “We have started cracking down on all those who are settling on land illegally and those that are demarcating land without permission from the Ministry of Lands.
“Circular number 1 of 1985 is loud and clear on how land in this country should be administered and anything beyond that, anything outside that parameter is illegal. As Minister of Lands, I will not tolerate those breaking the law with impunity without following the due process of the law.”
In its quest to make land more accessible to the people of Zambia in an efficient, effective and equitable manner, the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection draws public attention to Section 3 (1) of the Lands Act 1995 (Cap 184 of the Laws of Zambia) whereby all land in Zambia is vested absolutely in the Republican President and is held by him in perpetuity for and on behalf of the people of Zambia.
For the day-to-day land administration matters, the Commissioner of Lands is mandated to make grants or dispositions of land to any person who qualifies to hold land within the provisions of the Lands Act, subject to direction of the minister responsible for land matters.
The ministry is the only body mandated to carry out the functions of land administration. And because it has no established district-level structure, local authorities are appointed as agents to process applications and select suitable candidates on behalf of the Commissioner of Lands.
Recommendations made by local authorities to the Ministry of Lands may be accepted or rejected by the Commissioner of Lands.
Mr Kalaba has since advised people not to fight battles with authorities over land or get entangled in battles they do not understand because the law is blind and will only protect those following it.
“In terms of land alienation, the law is very clear, and our people should understand that there is a procedure on how people can acquire land. Anything outside that procedure becomes an illegality and people should not be seen to support illegality. I am appealing to the public out there to support the Zambia Police when they begin to move those that are occupying land illegally.
“Our police, who are working under very difficult circumstances, require our support. Therefore, it becomes incumbent upon the public to ensure that when they go into those areas where people are settled on land illegally they should endeavour to support them. This is a shared responsibility between the police, the Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Local Government and the public,” the minister said in an interview at the weekend.

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