President Edgar Lungu says he is dismayed with the illegal sale of land to foreigners by most traditional leaders in the country.
Speaking this morning when he addressed Parliament, the President regretted that if the trend of selling land illegally continued, the next generation would end up as squatters in their own country.
“Mr Speaker, I am equally concerned about the illegal manner in which land is being sold to foreigners. At the rate we are selling our land to foreigners, there is very terrible danger that we might send our children landless. The incitement sale of land has ultimate effect on our children who may end up as squatters in their own country,” the President stated.
“Mr Speaker it’s saddening that land is sometimes sold so cheaply than its actual value. And I have reports Mr speaker of chiefs giving hundreds of thousands of hectares of land for a second hand Toyota Pajero.”
The President stated that there was need to enact the revised land Act and policies that guaranteed sovereignty to ensure that land was protected for the future generation.
He then directed the lands minister and natural resources to immediately submit the revised land Act to cabinet so that it could be reviewed and acted upon.
“We therefore, as a matter of urgency need to come up with a revised land Act and policies that guarantee sovereignty of our land which is a key natural heritage. I am therefore directing the Minister of Land and Natural Resources to bring to cabinet the revised land Act and land policy which will ensure that our land is protected for our future generation,” the President stated.
The Head of State bemoaned the violent political rivalry that existed among various political parties.
“We also as political players need to seriously review the unbecoming behaviour of our party members commonly known as cadres. We must bring to an end the inciting of powers vested in relevant authorities by way of grabbing land and I am not only saying because it happening in the ruling party but in all political parties and it has to stop now,” the President stated.
Meanwhile, President Lungu regretted that poverty levels in the country were still high and that it was the reason why government had prioritised infrastructure development in the least developed areas of the country.
“According to statistics from the Central Statistical Office, poverty levels in our country remain unacceptably high. With 54.4% of our people living below the poverty line nationally. The situation in rural areas is even worse with 76.6% with 23.4% in urban areas. Additionally, income disparity stands at 0.69 and this means that the gap between the rich and the poor remains extremely high,” noted President Lungu.
And the President reiterated that the country would not hold a referendum on the expanded Bill of Rights because the country did not have money.