The House of Chiefs have cited political interference as the number one challenge in the administration of customary land by traditional leaders.
House of chiefs Chairperson Chief Ngabwe told the parliamentary committee on Agriculture, Land and Natural Resources that politicians are usually the ones causing and making it difficult to manage customary land because they don’t follow the laid down procedures when acquiring land.
“Traditional leaders cited political interference as the number one challenge in land administration. They argued that politicians are usually the ones causing and making it difficult to manage customary land because they don’t follow the laid down procedure to acquire land. Majority of the people are not well informed on the procedures to acquire customary land. Therefore, they use even head persons to acquire land which makes it difficult for for chiefs to administer land,” Chief Ngabwe stated.
He also observed that the State through local authorities usually sells land to developers without traditional leaders getting proceeds from such activities.
“When the State through local authorities acquire land from chiefs, they go ahead to start selling land for development and chiefs don’t get proceeds from these activities. When the State wants to undertake a major project, they ask for land from chiefs. However, sometimes the State does not always use land for the intended purpose. There is illegal access of traditional land and sometimes people are displaced without the chief’s knowledge. In recent times, head persons have been involved in allocating land and this must be stopped,” Chief Ngabwe stated.
“House of chiefs members recommend that customary land should not be changed to state land. However, customary land should be managed for economic benefits. Secondly, House of chiefs members recommend that a law should be enacted to deter foreigners from acquiring land in Zambia. They argued that at the rate we are going as a country, the future generation might not find land as it would have been sold to foreigners. Instead, foreigners and investors should partner with Zambians and traditional leaders that own land. For foreigners that own land, it should be given back to the government after the lease agreement expires,” he said.
Chief Ngabwe also submitted that the Hour of Chiefs wants Game Management Areas to be under the control of chiefs.