UPND chairman for lands Adrian Bauleni says under a UPND government, the current happenings where foreigners are grabbing land across the country will cease because ownership will exclusively be for Zambians.

And Bauleni says the UPND shall not tolerate foreigners coming into the country to mine precious stones uncontrollably.

In the UPND’s weekly newsletter to News Diggers! Bauleni stated that UPND was aware of the importance of land anywhere in the world, adding that it would be preferable to remain poorer than have the land taken away by foreigners.

“Land is the greatest natural asset to mankind. Therefore, without land, it inevitably constitutes the dead-end for any nation and could easily lead to extinction of any human race. Therefore, it would be preferable to remain poorer rather than the land being taken away by the foreigners, the way it is currently obtaining in our country, Zambia. In our local situation, we might not be feeling the impact of the seemingly Chinese slow pace of land alienation. But the real gravity of it would be felt by the future generations of our people in no distant future,” he stated.

Bauleni stated that in order to tackle land regime dispensation in Zambia, the UPND government would ensure that land ownership became exclusively for locals without exception.

He added that whatever was obtaining currently where foreigners, mainly the Chinese, had the upperhand in grabbing land across the country would immediately cease.

And Bauleni stated that UPND would stand by traditional rulers as partners in land governance, adding that the party’s overall land policy was to support and consolidate the authority of traditional leaders in the management of customary land.

“They are the custodians of our land and collaborator with the central government, even during the colonial days. Why should they be marginalized this time around and yet they were respected by the colonialists? The UPND government, therefore, pledges to stand by the traditional rulers as partners in the land governance in our country,” Bauleni added.

“The UPND government will, however, endeavour to enhance the authority on the customary land of the traditional rulers by redefining and putting in place systems and procedures in the collaborative process in relation to the central government and other agencies that would be directly and indirectly linked to customary land administration. The mutual consultations would be the order of the day between the central government and the traditional authority over the customary land.”

Bauleni further stated that the UPND government would not tolerate the displacement of citizens from their ancestral land.

“This has been ongoing under the PF government to displace and evict the citizens from their ancestral land, usually in preference to the foreigners. This is abominable, and will not be tolerated any further by UPND, especially in the circumstances of the abundance of land in the country. As a UPND government, we will endeavour to end the trend in order to keep the overall citizenry at peace and avert the story of recurrent displacement and evictions of our citizens,” he pledged.

Meanwhile, Bauleni stated that the UPND shall ensure equal distribution of land among Zambians, particularly women and the youth, as they constitute the majority of poverty-stricken citizens.

He stated that the party would further carry out a land audit in order to know how much land constitutes Zambia.

Bauleni stated that the party shall further review the Presidential powers over land.

“The UPND government shall review the executive powers of the President over land in Zambia. The clause that stipulates that all land is vested in the President on behalf of the people of Zambia shall be reviewed critically. Unfortunately, the clause has been abused by the sitting presidents instead of engaging the traditional rulers and the affected citizens in certain parts of the country, the executive powers have been excessively used to secure land anywhere in the country. This is particularly common on the issues involving investors,” he stated.

Bauleni noted that with UPND in power, it shall endeavour to get to the root cause of the failure to resolve the boundary disputes among chiefdoms.

He further pledged that a UPND administration shall not tolerate foreigners who came in the country to mine precious stones uncontrollably.

Bauleni stated that to strengthen the Office of Land Commission and the Lands Tribunal, the UPND would appoint a special committee to study what goes on in the two offices.

“There is imperative need to critically analyse the Office of the Commission of Lands and to strengthen the operations of the Land Tribunal. The two offices should be seen to operate independent of the external forces within the government circles. In order, therefore, to ensure smooth work culture by the two offices, there will be need to appoint a special committee for the purpose of studying what goes on in those offices. There is suspicion that there is corruption in the Ministry of Lands,” stated Bauleni.