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Monday, 15 June 2009

Land is available..

The Government last week signalled its intention to give large tracts of land to new investors from the UAE who wants to investment in sugar farming. According to Agriculture Minister Brian Chituwo, Zambia has so much land available there would not be opposition : "they are looking at 200,000 hectares, but we have 900,000 hectares of prime land available so the issue of land really should not be a problem. It is just a question of the mechanics of implementing this...". I look forward to learning more about these "mechanics" because last time I checked a village mother narrated that she has been waiting for two years to get a title deed. Sometime last month a Minister was arguing that chiefs should give up some of their land to facilitate investment because there was not enough land under government control. Which begs the question, is this 900,000 hectares owned by GRZ or part of the 96% land under customary ownership? More detail on this story via Reuters.

4 comments:

  1. As The Economist of May 23rd 2009 put it: 'The Chinese and the Arabs are buying poor countries' farms on a colossal scale. Be wary of results.'
    If the 'mechanics' involves customary community institution building and the vesting of that land first into the community institution through the Ministry of Lands, then that is the way to go. The community can then issue a sub-lease based on a landuse plan submitted by investors, provided an EIA give a clean bill of health. Anything else is the plundering of Zambia's heritage. The House of Chiefs accepted Landsafe. What then is the problem?

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  2. Brian Chituwo came from the highly corrupt Ministry of Health.

    There is no trackrecord of why he would qualify as a minister of agriculture.

    I think his expertise is in taking bribes.

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  3. Government's approach to land exemplifies our national predicament- the failure of any government agency to valuate and appropriate a market value of land. In our Governments eyes all land in Zambia has the same value, whether gems, copper or waters lays beneath it is inconsequential, the price for access/ownership in many cases is the cost of an application form and the favor of the approvor.
    This is why a person can apply to Lands Ministry for 100 acres of land on a ZK 50,000 application form , once the application is approved he can sell an acre of the same piece of land for ZK 10 million. Land under the juridiction fairs much worse for a token ( packets sugar, blankets etc) to the chief one can have himself land as big as a western suburb.
    It's no wonder shanties abound around major cities,why council workers can go for months without pay yet report for duty every day.
    It mad the way our councils run, the councilnot the individuals employess could ranking in millions if government just figured out how to value land.
    Todays Times of Zambia is full of land for sale ads, prices range from ZK 2.5 per suare metre to 100 Million per acre , this is the same land the ministry and councils gave away for a few hundred kwachas yet they can not funded their operations or pay a salary.
    When does the madness stop.


    Chilebu
    Lusaka, Zambia.

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  4. Chilebu,

    Why do you sign in as “anonymous”? A pseudo name is only used if one is afraid of repercussions. You have nothing to fear. Conversely, if you believe in what you say – don’t you want to take credit of your useful ideas?

    That said – if this is not a leadership crisis, then what is? It is unimaginable that Brian Chituwo, a presidential aspirant – can fail to see what’s wrong in getting rid off (in whatever form you may call it: lease, sale, etc.) 200,000 hectares of arable land. For heavens’ sake this is in simple arithmetic, 20% of what Zambia has. That is not even factoring in what Anonym (a.k.a. Chilebu) is talking about – other assets attached to that land. Is this not part of corruption? Koma vabooka mu Zambia.

    I have no words to describe this gross oversight. I am sure my grandfather, who fought against Arabs and other intruders from Europe with bow and arrows, is turning in the grave. Shocking!!! How can our leaders fail to protect and safeguard our and the future generations’ land? In spite of all education (may be they were mis-educted), why are they failing to see the new form (20th century type) of re-colonization? Is it difficult to see?

    Yes, as MrK says – Brian has no skills for handling the Agriculture portfolio, which involves land. The Ministry of Health, for which he is supposed to be qualified – is involved in the biggest swindle in Zambia’s history. People made a lot of noise about Chiluba, where are they now? Poor Zambia!

    June 20, 2009

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