Chiefs unhappy with locals’ displacement by investors

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Chiefs unhappy with locals’ displacement by investors

Kabwe, July 6, ZANIS —– Traditional leaders have expressed concern over a high number of citizens who are displaced from their farmlands by developers who come to invest in the chiefdoms which are in the mining areas.

The chiefs complained of the large pieces of land which is being lost to developers who are not concerned about the livelihood of the local communities who are displaced from their farmlands as a result of the mining activities without compensation.

Speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Kabwe yesterday, at the just ended two days Chiefs’ Indaba organized by the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Chief Sinazongwe of the Tonga speaking people in Southern province emphasized on the government protection of the local people from being displaced by investors.

The traditional leader described as sad the situation where large pieces of land was being converted from farmland to mining areas without any  benefit to the local communities who get displaced in the process.

CCZ, Chiefs and some investors from the six chiefdoms of Southern, Luapula and North-Western provinces were deliberating on the Statutory no. 55 of 2013 which aims at enhancing transparency and accountability in the natural resource management in the CCZ operation areas.

Chief Sinazongwe said most investors lack respect for traditional leaders when they come into the chiefdom, adding that the same investors are usually not monitored by government authorities to ensure adherence to the regulations of the land.

Their royal highnesses appealed to the government to work in consultation with the local traditional leaders in the issuance of licenses to the investors before they could be allowed to carry out activities in their chiefdoms.

And in a collective agreement read out by CCZ Communications officer Grace Zulu, the Indaba participants recommended a number of issues to the government among them, the enactment of the law on compensation which should be re-aligned with international lands standards and for
government to strengthen the law on environmental protection.

Other recommendations were the enactment of the law to protect people who are displaced in the process of paving way for investors and that government should ensure that there is harmonization in the laws on mining, agriculture and land.

They further recommended that government should come up with a law that will compel investors to pay up to about 25% of their profits to the royal establishment in the areas of operations, and that it should ensure that Statutory Instrument no. 55 of 2013 is strictly adhered to by all investors.

The indaba discussed among other issues the role of traditional leaders in the promotion of transparency and accountability in the management of natural resources, especially in the mining and forestry categories.

Among the six chiefs in attendance were Chiefs Musele, Mumena, Matebo, Chimese, Sinazongwe, and Simaamba all from CCZ areas of operation in Western, Luapula, and Southern provinces.

Others were the representatives from Lumwana South mine, First Quartum, Kalombeka Mines and Maamba.

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