Police block Lusaka West protesters

 Armed Zambia Police officers in full riot gear yesterday blocked a delegation from the 365 aggrieved residents of Lusaka West from marching to the office of the Vice President to protest their eviction from a piece of  land they have occupied for more than 20 years.

The land has been divided among top police officers who are poised to get 25 hectors each from the designated 1,425 hectors.

The residents are complaining that Police are being greedy and selfish in demanding so much land when their needs were humble and restricted to their personal habitation and agriculture requiring not less than two (2) hectors each.

“There is enough land to share and there was no need for the senior police officers to demand so much land and in the process demolish our houses without a court order as we also have a rightful claim from our long stay on the land,”  one of the victims said.

Their march was promoted by rumours that police were planning another demolition exercise after 33 houses, including those of junior police officers were razed last month.

One of the affected residents John Ngulube said they had decided to march to the office of the Vice President Dr Guy Scott to seek his indulgence on the matter.

The affected residents among them 150 junior police officers have been evicted from plot 10144 located near Westwood Police station and the land has now been earmarked for re-demarcation and distribution among top police officials.

Mr Ngulube, whose house was among the 33 demolished in the initial police action in April said they were informed that more demolitions were scheduled to take place today under mobilization from the Police.

“We are poor people who don’t have money to fight this issue on our own. Our request is to the Vice President (Dr Scott) to help us protect our families and properties from the selfish people who want to grab our land from us,” Mr. Ngulube said.

He explained that many families were destined for destitution as they had depended on that  land for their survival for more than 20 years.

Mr. Ngulube said it was unfortunate that poor people were being exposed to inhuman conditions where they have been forced to spend nights in the cold.

“We are currently spending nights in the cold, that is our home we have known for over 20 years and we can’t leave, where can we go?  The Police claim to have title deeds but we have no evidence of when the documents were issued to them.

“Unless the titles are over 20 years old  Police claim to their property cannot stand. Otherwise we are sitting tenants who should benefit from the plot.  We are poor people who need protection from the police but if we are victimized by the police, where can we run to?” he said.

The command, using a government receipt from the Zambia Police CID HQ imprest account paid K11 million (cheque 048485) as survey   fees for farm 10144 Lusaka west on October 9, 2009.

He has accused the police of abusing their power to victimize the poor to satisfy their selfish ambitions.

And Lusaka City Council (LCC) public relations manager Chanda Makanta said she was not aware of the operations in Lusaka West, which area was under the new Chilanga district.