A large piece of land meant for the Zambia Army rifle range in Chongwe has been invaded by I am investigating the matter. The Army Commander has asked me to talk to the Ministry of Lands and if it means reversing the exercise, we shall do so regardless of who is involved because we want people to be secure,” Mr Lungu said.
Minister of Lands Mwansa Kapeya when contacted asked the reporter to investigate the allegations to the bottom before he could make a comment.
Chieftainess Nkomeshya said she was going to find out from Njolwe village headman and promised to get back to the reporter at a later date.
The Daily Nation visited Njolwe Village and spoke to a number of villagers who have vowed to remain on their traditional and ancestral land.
A named senior Mikango Barrack military personnel has with impunity fenced off the entire shooting range of about nine hectares and has built himself a mansion in total disregard of the provisions governing land acquisition.
The Daily Nation has a list of the military personnel and senior government officials including senior PF leaders who have invaded the Mikango Training grounds.
Some of the officials from the Ministry of Lands have acquired as much as ten plots each of between six and nine hectares much to the annoyance of the villagers whose farming and grazing land is being threatened with the random placement of beacons by the same government and military officials.
Some villagers talked to on condition of anonymity exclusively told the Daily Nation: “After sharing the training land, we just saw surveyors from the Ministry of Lands coming to where we have lived for more than 50 years and started demarcating land and placing beacons. We went to report to the Chief that soldiers, government officials and cadres had invaded our farming and grazing land and were threatening to evict us. The chief came and demanded that the beacons be removed and the exercise be stopped,” the villagers explained.The villagers said in May this year, Chieftainess Nkomeshya met with officials from the Ministries of Defence and Lands and ordered a stop to the demarcation of the traditional land and that the exercise was suspended for two weeks.They said two weeks ago, the Ministry of Lands officials returned to Njolwe village and continued demarcating the land.
The Ministry of Lands officials are alleged to have assured the locals that alternative land would be given to them.
“The villagers are very angry that the PF government with its cadres was breaking laws governing the country with impunity and that the last time the officials were in the area, a government vehicle was almost torched. Two weeks ago, the surveyors came back and demanded that the villagers be removed because the Mikango training land would be turned into a suburb as people have started building and farming. When we refused, they threatened to arrest us but got angry and wanted to beat them,” the villagers said.
They have appealed to President Michael Sata to intervene in the matter because they had nowhere to go having lived in Njolwe village for more than half a century.They wondered what was going to happening to their farming and grazing land adding that it was most likely that the government and military officials were committing transgressions without the knowledge of President Sata.