Ministry of Lands clears air
THE ministry of Lands has dispelled and diffused reports suggesting that it was displacing settlers across Zambia to facilitate the allocation of huge chunks of land for investment. Minister of Lands Jean Kapata said she had received an avalanche of reports to that effect but said she did not support the displacement of people without following procedure and compensation to those materially affected. Speaking in at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Ms. Kapata said some of the key challenges that contributed to encroachment included, lack of proper information on land acquisition processes, lack of documentation on land ownership and inventories, land use conflicts and land rights, and that all these led to vulnerability. “You may wish to know that before a large tract of land is allocated to any applicant(s) under the Ministry of Land’s, the following are some of the key conditions to be met such as the National Remote Sensing Centre Report that takes an aerial view of land in question to determine if there are settlers on the ground. “There is also the physical inspection and social-economic survey report that determines the extent of settlements and economic activities done by settlers as well as the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) to outline the conditions of resettlement should there be any need to resettle the settlers,” Ms. Kapata said. She said her ministry scrutinized all the processes and ensured that the conditions were met prior to allocation approval or disapproval of large tract of land. Ms Kapata however said there were some cases where people deliberately invaded or encroached on the land but that when they got information that the same was being earmarked for re-planning or allocation to some project, it created conflicts. “The government would like to appeal to the traditional leadership to work in full consultation with their communities in matters of land allocation for large scale investments. My ministry would also like to appeal to members of the public to refrain from invading/ squatting on other people’s land as doing so may lead to eviction without compensation, “As a ministry we are committed to improving efficiency and effectiveness in land administration, attracting investment, but at the same time protecting our people so that they are not left behind in the development vision that this Government has for the country,” she said. She said her ministry had continued to put measures in place to ensure that development was sustainable, and that procedures were adhered to.
First Lady Esther Lungu being welcomed by Zambians upon arrival in Senegal for the fifth edition of Merck Africa Luminary which was held at the Centre International De Conference Abdou Diouf in Dakar, Senegal