Angry villagers of Shaputu in Shibuyunji District have objected to the alleged sale of 7,650 hectors of land to some Indians by senior chief Shakumbila.

And headman Charles Shaputu says senior chief Shakumbila must be replaced because he is more into real estate business than leading his subjects.

Shaputu village representative Saputo Shikabwali said the sale of land by their chief without the knowledge of villagers was shocking.

“We are very disappointed and shocked with our senior chief Shakumbila. He has sold off the land to some Indians as you can see they have already put some boreholes here, we are told that the land which the chief has sold is 7650 hectors to Avlow Zambia Limited, Avlow Development Company Limited, Green Gold Sala Limited and Green Field Crops Limited,” Shikabwali told News Diggers! in an interview in Shibuyunji District.

“We have asked our headmen here in Shaputu village if they were aware of the chief’s sale of our village, which has got more than 10,000 households to these Indians, and they have told us to start moving or they would be displaced by the some Indians.”

Shikabwali said villagers were now living in fear of being displaced by the said Indians.

“We have tried to seek audience with our chief, but it seems the chief does not want to cooperate with us here. He told us that the land in question was sold to investors. Which investors whom we are not aware of? We have not had a meeting with them and all we hear is that the Indians have paid about 1.5 million to the chief. Now, we are wondering where the chief is getting powers to start selling land in that manner. We are, therefore, appealing to President Edgar Lungu to intervene and save more than 10,000 households from any displacement, which may result in untold misery and poverty levels as a result of the sale of this 7,650 hectors. Displacement of villagers, local communities, including women, youths and the disabled, is a cost to the government of the day,” Shikabwali added.

And Shaputu asked senior chief Shakumbila to step down, alleging that he was more into real estate business.

“I want to ask our senior chief Shakumbila to consider stepping down and continue with his real estate business because we know he is been doing that for some years now. We cannot have a chief who has no heart for his people. His interest is money! He is not concerned where these people will go. We are asking him to peacefully step down before people can start killing each other over his corrupt ways of managing and here,” he appealed.

The headman further disclosed that the affected villagers would ensure that the Indians were not allowed to take away their land.

“This is our land! We were born here. Our graves are here. We have animals and they graze in this same land and so we shall not allow this heartless chief to take away this from us! We will protect it and if the government won’t help us then we shall find ways of protecting it from such corrupt people,” vowed headman Shaputu.

Among the 13 villages affected are Shaputu, Mwamkamyemba, Sitali, Mulowa, Muukila and Mpolobe.

Others are Chipindi, Moomba, Cikobela, Malyango, Mungwala, Nkolongo and Shalulwe.

An attempt to get to chief Shakumbila at his palace for comment proved futile by press time as he was unavailable.