Mitengo residents on Sunday blocked the Ndola-Mufulira road in protest of the council’s decision to “grab their land and give it to the Chinese”.
The conflict between China-Henan and Guoji joint venture and Ndola City Council has spurred various land brawls; among them a land ownership battle in Dolla hill between the residents and some Chinese nationals who have bought off huge chunks of land.
The residents gathered along Ndola-Mufulira road around 09:00 hours and blocked the road in protest on Sunday.
Last week, Lands Minister Jean Kapata visited the area and commended the Ndola City Council management for sitting down with Henan and Guoji, who hold Title of Land in question, and negotiating that they first be given 77 hectares from the original 137 hectares to allow the local authority to replan the area and settle some of the land disputes that arose.
“Coming to the issue of these Chinese having 137 hectares, I am glad that a consent judgment was given and I am glad that you have had a sit down with them handing off some piece of the 137 hectares,” Kapata said.
“We thank God that the owners of the title have agreed because others would not even agree so we are lucky and now, what we can do is protect our people.”
But barely three days after Kapata’s visit, the residents who have plots on the said land, rose up in arms to show dissatisfaction.
A representative of the residents, Anthony Chibuye, said President Edgar Lungu’s silence over the abuse of citizens by the Chinese spoke volumes.
“I want to express my displeasure with our president Mr Edgar Lungu. Why should Zambians live like foreigners in their own country. Ndola city council is serving the interest which is at odds with the local people. It’s the same council that gave us these plots, the council had renounced the partnership they had with the Chinese, but we don’t know what has exchanged hands for the council to give back the land to the Chinese,” said Chibuye.
“This land is only held on our behalf by the President. We wake up and vote for you. We can’t look stupid today in preference to the Chinese. Can a Zambian go to China and get land? Your silence Mr President is too much. We are not slaves! We can’t be beggars. The council have a different agenda.
We have nothing to fear, we are ready to die for our country.”
A quick action by the police led by Acting Ndola Town Clerk Wisdom Bwalya prevented the protest from escalating into a riot.
Four representatives of the residents building on the land were picked by police.