About 70 families of Murundu ward in Mufulira district on the Copperbelt have been displaced from Horasho resettlement following a discovery of minerals on their farm blocks by a Chinese investor.
Changfa resources Ltd is yet to relocate the affected residents of Murundu in Kantanshi constituency to an alternative resettlement once they are paid disturbance allowances and given alternative land.
Murundu area councilor Musakalu Mambwe explained that the residents were being asked to give up their farm land to the investors because they had no legal documentation supporting their occupation.
“Changfa resources Ltd discovered copper minerals around Horasho resettlement in Murundu ward last year in October. This resettlement is situated somewhere near Mokamba border post in Mufulira. So after it was discovered that there were minerals on that land, the Chinese bought off that land from the families that have been farming there but even as I speak now, those people have not been paid and they have not been relocated but they were told not to continue farming, which is very inconveniencing,” Mambwe said.
“When I learnt of this development as area councilor for Murundu, I got concerned. I am the voice of the people. I decided to take the matter to the local council where we had a meeting with the town clerk and a representative from Changfa. It was resolved that those people were going to be paid what was called ‘disturbance allowances’ amounting to K5000 per household and on top of that, they were going to be given 1.5 hectors of land within Murundu ward and that was in February this year,” Mambwe said.
He said the investors did not honour the agreement.
“Zambia is our land and those are just foreigners who come here to make money even if they are bringing development in the end there isn’t anything much that we benefit. Those investors turned down my proposal to build houses for the people and insisted that they would just pay them K5000 each which they haven’t even done up to now,” said Mambwe.
And Center for Trade Policy and Development acting executive director Issac Mwaipopo says there is no justification for displacing people from land on which they have lived all their lives even if they had no entitlement for it.
“Government needs to look into mining host communities and ensure that they are protected, a case in point includes the residents of Mokambo where Changfa mines is to be opened. It is sad to note that families are to be displaced from the area without adequate compensation. There is need to ensure that locals are adequately compensated should they be relocated because some of them, that is land they have lived on through out their lives despite not having tittle for the land,” said Mwaipopo.