The scandal in which some officials are grabbing land in Lusaka’s Foxadale area near Chamba Valley, was laid bare by Lands Minister, Harry Kalaba.
This has ultimately led to the displacement of more than 300 people.
He has since ordered that land in the area be audited following revelations that a cartel comprising officials in his ministry was grabbing land from the rightful owners.
The land in question, which is popularly known as Grepes, belonged to the proprietor of Brick and Tiles Limited and was believed to have been given to the current occupants as terminal benefits.
However, it is alleged that some officials from the Ministry of Lands had taken advantage of the occupants’ failure to acquire title deeds and began taking huge tracts of land from the mainly peasant community.
During a fact finding tour of the area yesterday, Mr Kalaba ordered that a land audit be conducted and warned that officials who would be found to have benefitted from the dubious production of title deeds for the piece of land would be arrested.
“I am aware that most of this land belongs to officers from my ministry. They are the ones perpetrating this act, so I will personally be working on this next week because we can’t be having one person owning five plots, for what?” Mr Kalaba asked.
He said the Patriotic Front was a pro-poor Government and that he would not allow a few selfish individuals with financial resources to disadvantage the majority.
Mr Kalaba said there was need to regularise the process of land allocation to bring sanity and equity in land acquisition.
He cited the land titling exercise that the ministry would soon embark on as one of the measures aimed at standardising the process of land acquisition.
Area Member of Parliament Nkandu Luo said most of the land had been grabbed in the last two years.
She was surprised to learn that structures were rapidly emerging with some people building even at night.
Professor Luo said it was sad that some Government officials were abusing their positions for selfish gain.
She said the only solution was to conduct an audit of the land to enable those that had been displaced recover their land.
“The PF was elected on the basis of empowering the people so it’s really absurd and sad that people should be this selfish,” she said.
One of the occupants, Regina Daka complained that over 300 people had been displaced and asked the minister to quickly intervene before they became destitute.
Ms Daka, whose husband worked for Brick and Tiles Limited for 22 years, said though they were the rightful owners of the land, they were powerless before the people that were claiming ownership of the plots.
Times of Zambia