THE widespread illegal alienation and conversion of land among local authorities is a scourge that must be nipped in the bud.
We hope the councillors who were in Livingstone last week for the Local Government Association of Zambia meeting took seriously the advice from President Edgar Lungu about proper management of land in their jurisdictions.
In Livingstone, President Lungu warned against illegal allocation of land by councillors and their staff.
He expressed regret that most of the land reserved for greens has been shared illegally by either councillors or council staff.
As the councillors get back to their local areas, we hope the President’s advice will be uppermost in their minds as they apply themselves to council business.
The land administration in Zambia should change for the better and the starting point should be councils educating the public about acquisition procedures.
Currently, there is a lot of illegal acquisition of land because there is little information flowing to the ordinary citizens on the right channels to own or develop land.
It is common for many Zambians to think that the only way to be a land owner is to buy it from a councillor or a council employee.
It is also common for many Zambians to think that cadres, especially from the ruling party, were best sources to acquire land from as they were considered to be powerful.
Land has become so expensive as to exclude ordinary citizens because councillors and council staff who have more than one plot sell the extra pieces of land at exorbitant charges.
This also applies to party cadres who have managed to acquire land illegally or in connivance with the councillors, and then offer it to desperate members of the public.
Since councillors are the lowest political leadership who represent wards, they should take it upon themselves to educate their electorate about land acquisition so that they do not fall on the other side of the law.
It is in the interest of all Zambians that the development of the country should be well coordinated according to town and city planning.
The era of families having their houses and other structures demolished because they build on road or water pipes, and then seek compensation should come to an end.
Councils should ensure that development plans are drawn and circulated as widely as possible, so that communities are aware of the expected development plans.
The era of building first and thinking later should be a thing of the past and we must now begin to look forward to a more orderly and organised land transition and indeed use.
This is the reason why councillors should take seriously President Lungu’s advice that council should stop the scam of illegal allocation.