It is heartening to hear government declaring war against illegal land acquisition and allocation in the country.
Land grabbing, illegal allocation as well as wrongful acquisition have been vices that have over time turned into a scourge leaving land owners virtually vulnerable.
The scourge has mainly been perpetrated by political party cadres and mostly from the party in government with no effort from the authorities to curb the illegalities.
It is without doubt that the high prevalence of illegality and lawlessness in land allocation and acquisition has become a threat to law and order in the country and we hope into believing that is not political rhetoric meant to hoodwink Zambians and land owners that government was serious about fighting the vice.
Soon after the PF formed government, law breakers masquerading as cadres of the ruling party went on rampage grabbing people’s land and sharing it among themselves. In some cases they beat and hacked the owners of land while the police stood by and watched.
It is regrettable that innocent citizens lost their lives in defending their pieces of land and we have no reports that any of the criminals who perpetrated the vice had been arrested and prosecuted.
The local authorities however have to take a huge part of the blame in the scourge of illegal land allocation because as the custodian of city and township planning, they have often allowed the illegality.
The councils have allowed people who wrongly acquire land to build their structures to completion and allow the power and water utility companies to service such areas with the full knowledge that the areas were illegal and the plots irregularly obtained.
It is because of the illegal land allocation and acquisition that more than 600 families in Kitwe’s Mindolo lost their houses which they built at great cost, but only to be demolished because the land on which they had built them was illegally acquired.
More than 600 families have lost their houses and government has no plans to compensate them and yet they will need to be resettled.
Another 10,000 families in Lusaka’s Kanyama are at risk of having their houses demolished and this by no means a large number of families that would have no homes.
All this can be attributed to the high prevalence of illegal land allocation and acquisition.
And so to curb the high prevalence in the illegal acquisition of land in the country government has established an Inter-ministerial Taskforce looking into illegal land allocation and acquisition which will start to monitor the vice.
The Taskforce has been given the mandate to prosecute perpetrators of illegal land allocation and acquisition and it is our hope that there shall be no legal impediments to this because land is not only a factor of production but has over the years been the cause of serious civil conflicts in many countries.
At the rate things have been going in Zambia, the scourge was slowly becoming a risk to the country’s peace, tranquility and political stability because the perpetrators of the vice were often political cadres.