Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo has called on his fellow opposition MPs who might have plots in Forest 27 to give back the plots.

And Former Minister of Communications William Harrington says he will challenge the illegal allocation of plots in the forest in court.

The duo was speaking during a Public Discussion Forum hosted by News Diggers and OSISA, in partnership with Eden University and Prime TV at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka, Friday.

Responding to a concern from one of the attendants that even some opposition MPs, who people trusted to speak on their behalf had acquired plots in the said forest, Nkombo said it was wrong for either opposition or the ruling party sympathizers to own land in the forest reserve.

“Firstly, if there is any member of the opposition who has been awarded a piece of land in Forest 27 which provides the head water recharge for Chalimbana River, it does not exclude it from being a wrong act. Secondly is to say that any transaction has a paper trail. If you go to the Ministry of Lands, there will be no speculation. I heard the Minister of Information few days ago saying we are servicing citizens, first of all it is high profile citizens, there is no contest about that, was the procedure followed? I doubt. I am a politically exposed individual but I must say now that if any person in the opposition, knowingly or unknowingly was awarded a plot on Forest 27 which disturbs the underground water supply for Lusaka, the befitting thing is to say ‘I did not know, therefore you can have your plot back’, Nkombo said.

“That provides an answer, it’s doesn’t take away from the fact that it is wrong, if someone got it knowingly or unknowingly, the paper trail is at the Ministry of Lands, and fortunately it’s not like the 48 houses that have no owner.”

Meanwhile, Harrington said he was ready to sleep in court over Forest 27 because he was fighting for the future of the next generation.

“And somebody said I have a lot of time to spend in court, I told her that I will even sleep in court, I am prepared to sleep in court if they can give me a mattress, even sitting, I am prepared to sit until the next morning if it is to protect the interest of these people and fight injustices against these people. It’s a matter of principle for me, we are fighting for the silent majority, those who are crying out there that their forest is being butchered and their underground water is being polluted. 120 plots, if every house is going to have a soak away, that soak away is going to go in your water that you are going to drink and you accept. In Zambia talking is an industry, we need affirmative action, so for me on this forest, watch the space,” said Harrington.

“All I am saying is that watch the space and I am very grateful for the position taken by Honorable Nkombo, we need to get to the bottom of this controversy regarding this forest and definitely, we have evidence of those people who have given unto themselves plots and I have consulted LAZ on how I will proceed to appoint a tribunal to ask the chief justice, the snag is this, how do you expect somebody to consult the chief justice when she is interested? But still more, the Act says you have to apply to the chief justice, I have no option. If she wishes to recuse herself, she can recuse herself and maybe the deputy chief justice can appoint a tribunal. The unfortunate part is that this will be my third tribunal. Another lady again. Someone said why do you always go for ladies, its not my fault that they are always the ones who are involved in corrupt activities?”