Land grabbing

Chaotic land alienation characterized by greed, corruption and sheer abuse of power have become the order of the day.

Nobody is safe any more as title to land is losing value and the land alienation system is fraught with such  outrageous irregularities as to defy any pretensions of rule of law, equity, fairness and justice.

Today we carry a very  disturbing news story concerning  land that is being carved from the Kafue National Park by defiant PF vigilantes.

One thing that is clear:  impunity.

The impunity that is developing  in Lusaka and its near environs where the rich and powerful are abusing governance systems to disadvantaged the poor, uneducated and therefore disadvantaged if frightening, nobody seems in charge any more.

There are pathetic cases of immoral and totally greedy land alienation practices in many parts of the city where senior Government officers now including Ministers are taking huge tracts of land on which some “squatters” have been living for decades.

For some reason still unknown it appears that the Ministry of Lands can not recognize the right of an ordinary villager who is deemed to inconvenience the neat symmetry of maps that are produced by cadastral officers..

The lines cut across settlements on which real people olive and create new plots without any regard to the suffering, discomfort and indeed injustice of such awards.

Little wonder that vigilantes have also taken the cue  and have also started demarcating land, entering titled plots and in some cases taking parts of  state land including national parks which they sell.

There is an entirely new culture emerging in which institutions of governance have not not only become irrelevant but are also participating in the abuse of the law and procedure for land alienation. It is obvious that unless something is done and done very quickly anarchy will become entrenched to the detriment of rule of law because citizens will have nowhere to turn to in time of need.

For example the Police have been demolishing houses in Lusaka West without any court order, in order to clear land for use by senior officers. This can neither be just nor equitable because the land has not been vacant- those on it have as much if not more rights than those who seek to acquire it by dint of service in the Police ranks.

We are slowly gravitating to a situation where it will become each one for himself and God for us all.

This will be an unfortunate development which will take away the gains made from the many years of nascent steps taken towards consolidating liberal democracy in which the rule of law was paramount.

The steps were meant to create a situation where the sanctity of law was upheld, in which every man including the President became answerable to the supreme law of the land, the constitution.

It must be remembered than wars have been fought over much less than land. Therefore the Minister of Lands together with his officers must know that Zambians are watching the unfolding scenario where the rich and power are lording it over the poor villagers in Kampasa and Lusaka West.

These intolerable situations will have their final ramifications in a political crisis.