THE arrest of 26 suspects in the case of illegal land grabbing in Lusaka West should serve as a warning to other would-be wrongdoers.
The Police action has sent the right message that they will no longer condone lawlessness.
However, to ensure this message sinks in the minds of illegal land grabbers, the Police action should not be a one-off operation.
There has been disregard for the law pertaining to the acquisition of land in Zambia and this has worked negatively against law abiding citizens who have acquired land for development.
We hope the planned land audit by Government will take off soon so that available land which is occupied is known and also that which is in the hands of speculators.
From the land audit, it is our expectation that Government will know the land which can be earmarked for redistribution to those who do not have.
This perhaps will go a long way in curbing illegal land invasion.
The reports of party cadres and other illegal land invaders are not new. The illegal acts have been going on for many years without any solution in sight to bring back normalcy in the land administration.
What has been happening over the years is the harassment of innocent land developers who followed the law to be allocated land.
This cannot be allowed to continue. The illegality in land acquisition should come to an end.
Therefore, the Police should follow to the letter the adage ‘justice should not only be done but be seen to be done’.
There is no need for the Police who have effected arrests to procrastinate when time comes to take the suspects to court.
This then means that since the wheels of justice have started moving with the arrest of the 26 suspects, the whole process should be allowed to follow up to the judiciary.
Those found wanting during the court process should receive punishment equal to their illegal action so that the cancer of invading other people’s land can be reduced or even eradicated.
It would be a disservice to the people who were harassed to hear that their attackers have gone scot-free when the Police are there to put an end to illegality.
Allowing such illegal acts go unpunished is a recipe for more invasion and the losers are innocent Zambians who always blame Government for their suffering.
Therefore, the 26 people arrested as part of those who invaded land belonging to innocent developers should be thoroughly screened and a water-tight case made against the culprits whose destination is the judiciary where they should be made to answer for their actions.
Unless this is done cases of illegal invasion of land will never stop.
Those involved in such illegality will always believe there is a loophole in the justice system which they can manipulate every time they are caught.
It is time Zambians started respecting the law on land administration.