Lusaka council must stop it!

LUSAKA City Council must not wait until people have built and then destroy their properties on allegations that they built on illegal land as this has brought tension in the country.

Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) executive director Boniface Cheembe said the Government should come up with a policy that would seek to legally empower Zambians and foreigners who might want to acquire land in Zambia in a fair manner.

Mr Cheembe said it was not fair to demolish finished structures but for the local authority to find alternatives means of resolving the issue. He said the recent riots that took place in Lusaka West where it was reported that the Lusaka City Council had ordered the demolition of houses constructed on illegal land was testimony of the land conflicts that were pending in the country.

“The first concern that arises is whether any person must be allowed to spend a lot of money developing a property that the city council later comes to demolish, which is not fair to poor citizen,” Mr Cheembe said.

He said the local authority must instead be pro-active to ensure that people were not allowed to build on land that might not belong to them, to avoid the kind of riots that were experience in Lusaka West.

Mr Cheembe said it would be helpful if the situation was immediately addressed by the Government as such was a source of conflict, adding that Zambians who were alleged to have no access to land could take the advantage and  engage into violence which might cause social unrest.

“We as the country must address the issues of equitable distribution of land in Zambia between citizens and foreigners because this has become the order of the day and must be taken as a matter of concern,” he said.

Lusaka West residents last week took to the streets protesting the demolition exercise embarked on by the local authority.

The Lusaka City Council had been demolishing residents’ houses which were believed to have been built on illegally-acquired land.