Former Local government Association of Zambia president Daniel Chisenga says necessary steps must be taken by the Ministry of lands, and Local Government to have continuously orientation and awareness programs in helping councilors understand their roles.
Commenting on the recent suspension of land agencies for Kabwe and Ndola Municipal councils, Chisenga who is also former Lusaka Mayor said there was urgent need for massive sensitization drive on the layout guidelines to local authorities in Zambia on land alienation.
“In as much as the decision to suspend the two councils is a welcome disciplinary move, it however denies the general public access to land tenure and development of our cities as the process now will take longer at the provincial lands office,” Chisenga said.
He advised all council leaders not to be subjected to any undue pressure from councilors who would want them to skip key procedures of land alienation.
“It should be emphasized to all leaders especially Mayors, council chairpersons and town Managers not to be subjected to undue pressure from councilors to skip key procedures of land alienation to save their councils from eminent suspensions of their land agency and subsequent dissolution of councils,” he said.
“Necessary steps must be taken by the ministry of lands and local Government to have continuous orientation and awareness programs to build the capacity of councilors to understand their roles. The Land audit is timely and must be extended to all councils in Zambia.”
Chisenga noted that the majority Zambians where facing difficulties in owning land.
“Zambia has a lot of land which is undeveloped and yet majority of our people since independence have difficulties owning a piece of land to build a dwelling place of their own. We commend the minister for her quick and wise decision to put a stop to anarchy which has befallen some councils,” Chisenga added.
“We also wish to advise our civic leadership to get advise from our technocrats because many a time we ignore their counsel. Councils have suffered dissolution and its the civic leaders who suffer the consequences while the technocrats remain. Am speaking from a standpoint of view where the Land urgency for Lusaka City Council was suspended and also the council being dissolved when I served as Mayor of Lusaka.”
He also emphasized the need for the Ministry of Local government to expedite councilors emoluments adjustments, stating that the pressure for councilors to sell land emanated from the fact that they were still serving as volunteers without proper emoluments.
“Furthermore, its important that the office of the Mayor and the deputy Mayor work hand in hard to build smart cities. The current happenings in most councils where Mayors and deputies are fighting leaves much to be desired. It is our earnest appeal to the Ministry that the team of auditors sent to the two councils could expeditiously deal with the issues under the terms of reference so that the two councils can operate normally. We also wish to underscore on the need to finalize on the issues of councilors emoluments because we feel the pressure for councilors on land issues emanate from the fact that they are still serving as volunteers without a proper emoluments,” said Chisenga.