Idle land to be repossessed


GOVERNMENT says an audit of land will culminate in repossession of idle land, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Christable Ngimbu has said.
And police in Lusaka have arrested 14 people and charged them with criminal trespass for encroaching on land belonging to Galunia farms.
Ms Ngimbu said in an interview yesterday that land that has been idle for many years has become the conduit for illegal land allocation in some parts of the country.
“All those that own vast but idle land should start developing it, or they risk losing it to the Government,” she said.
Ms Ngimbu said Government will take stock of every idle land after which it will embark on the repossession of such tracts of land.
The minister was speaking in reaction to the illegal land allocation at Galunia Farms in Mutumbi area in Lusaka, where some people have been sharing idle land.
However, Ms Ngimbu warned that Government will not let perpetrators of illegal land allocation go scot-free.
“We are not going to leave any stone unturned till the culprits are brought to book. The wrath of the law will visit individuals that are involved in illegal land allocation,” she said.

The minister has since called on the local authorities to sensitise people on the importance of following the right procedure in land acquisition.
“Councils should also keep an eye on illegal land allocation because that affects town planning,” she said.
Ms Ngimbu also warned of stern action against officials in her ministry and councils who are involved in illegal land allocation.
And 14 out of the 24 people who were arrested for illegally allocating land belonging to Galunia farms in Chamba valley have been charged with criminal trespass.
The 14 suspects are expected to appear in court today.
Lusaka Province police commanding officer, Charity Katanga has confirmed the charging of the 14 suspects.
“We initially picked up 24 suspects for illegally allocating land belonging to Galunia farms. But after screening them, we have detained 14 suspects who have been formerly charged with criminal trespass. The others suspects have been released,’’ she said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday.
Mrs Katanga said police are still monitoring the situation at Galunia farms.
An on-the-spot check found vigilant police officers clad in riot gear manning the farm.
On Saturday police curtailed the illegal allocation of land at the farm where some people had started clearing the site for construction of houses.
During the operation, police confiscated wheelbarrows, axes and bull dozers from land developers.
The site was, however, all quiet yesterday.