Land alienation attracts debate at Sector Group Convention

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–National organisations, institutions and interest groups have submitted to the Sector Group Convention that foreigners should not own land except through leasing from Zambians citizens for the purpose of investment.

And the Sector Group on Land, Environment and Natural Resources struggled to scrutinize comments from organizations and interest groups especially on land which has attracted overwhelming comments and submissions from stakeholders.

The Sector Group on Land, Environment and Natural Resources, which is
being chaired by Lennette Kambole Chiti, an Environmental lawyer, spent
the whole morning and part of the afternoon session without making
clear resolutions especially on land alienation and ownership.

Comments from various institutions and organizations have largely suggested differently on how land should be alienated and managed which led to the house of experts and professionals misunderstand each other as they had two documents, the First Draft Constitution and the copies of comments from organizations, in their hand to refer to before
making their resolutions.

The confusion arose as to whom between the President, Chiefs and the Lands Commission Board should alienate land.

Others agreed with the Article (1) which states that Land in Zambia is vested in the President and held by the President in trust for, and on behalf of, the people of Zambia while others wanted it amended to compel the President to consult the chief, Lands Commission Board and the citizens before alienating land.

For instance, Jubilee Zambia submitted that the clause be amended to provide for the vesting of land in the people of Zambia and not in the President while the Cabinet Office noted that the clause should be amended to provide the Lands Commission to have authority to alienate and administer all land on behalf of the President.

These varying submissions sparked debate among delegates.

Chairperson of the group admitted that the process was a tedious one but urged the experts to endure as they are called to provide solutions to issue that affect the public.

Convention coordinator, Reuben Lifuka, provided guidance after he discovered that the group of experts were spending more time to draft and correct wording in the articles instead of addressing what was required of them according to the terms of reference.

Mr Lifuka advised the group to provide a framework which the Technical Committee would use to draft the Final Draft Constitution and not concentrate on responding to comments from various organizations on the articles.

He said the comments should be quickly gone through and see if they are responding to what the FDC had provided, adding that doing so should be in response to what the terms of reference are requesting them to do.

After the guidance, the group proceeded and began to move at a considerable speed which, if maintained would allow them to conclude their tasks on schedule tomorrow.