Explain Mikango Barracks land invasion-Chipimo

THE National Restoration Party (NAREP) has challenged Minister of Lands Mwansa Kapeya to explicitly state how the Mikango Barracks grounds offered to the military for training purposes had been converted to private plots. 

NAREP president Elias Chipimo said the spate of events where Patriotic Front (PF) senior officials and their cadres had invaded the Mikango land was an indication that there was a clear breakdown in the rule of law from the time the ruling party ascended to government in 2011.

Mr Chipimo said there was urgent need for the PF government to spell out a clear policy on land acquisition and that it was shocking that land which belonged to sensitive institutions like the Zambia Army could be invaded with impunity by senior government officials and party cadres.

He said land administration under the PF was not transparent and challenged Mr Kapeya to inform the nation how the land offered by senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II to Mikango Barracks for target shooting could have been subdivided by ministries of Defence and Lands in connivance with senior PF officials and cadres.

Mr Chipimo said in an interview that it was worrying that government ministers and their cadres were engaging in illegal land activities stating that it was devastating that land meant for military training could easily be invaded by the people who were expected to protect it.

He said it was unacceptable that the people who had invaded the Mikango Barracks training grounds were also threatening to evict the local people in Njolwe village in Chongwe.

Mr Chipimo said the impunity the PF was being exhibited without any form of fear and advised the people who had invaded Mikango Barracks training land to know that the law was going to catch up with them in the future.

“We need a clear policy on the administration of land under the PF because we have had a spate of land grabbing and illegal acquisition of plots. We are concerned that land belonging to sensitive departments such as the Zambia Army could be invaded by known government ministers and PF cadres. The land was meant for military training and it is not safe to turn such areas into residential areas because the military needs secrecy in their training,’ Mr Chipimo said.

Minister of Lands Mwansa Kapeya when contacted about the revelations advised that the reporter to talk to his permanent secretary Inutu Suba whose phone was off by press time.

Mr Kapeya said he was in Muyombe in Muchinga Province and could therefore not comment on the scandal.

Yesterday, Minister of Defence confirmed that he had received complaints from the Army Commander General Paul Mihova that some senior government officials, Ministers and PF cadres had invaded Mikango Barracks shooting range and warned that the exercise would be reversed irrespective of who was involved.

The Daily Nation has a list of all the senior government officials from the Ministry of Lands, Defence and Patriotic Front senior officials and cadres who have invaded the Mikango Barracks training land and the list would soon be published. The officials from the Ministry of Lands have also placed random beacons in Njolwe village in what is farming and grazing land for the villagers.