Tuesday, March 27, 2007
By George Chellah and Bright Mukwasa
Tuesday March 27, 2007 [02:00]
OPPOSITION Patriotic Front (PF) has indicated that it will sue the state on behalf of all citizens whose houses have been razed in the on-going demolition exercise. And Lusaka residents in illegal settlements earmarked for demolition by the Lusaka City Council (LCC) have appealed to the local authority to stop their exercise and formalise the areas.
PF president Michael Sata yesterday said the party would take legal action against the government over the ongoing demolition exercise. "As PF we are suing the government on behalf of all those people in Lusaka whose houses have been demolished. We have a team of lawyers who are looking into that so we are suing the government over that," Sata said.
"The government was supposed to give the people notice before demolishing their houses. So all those people in Lusaka whose houses were demolished, let them come because we are taking the government to court."
And Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) national coordinator Henry Machina said the government should continue cleaning its system of land administration through decentralisation.
Meanwhile, some Lusaka residents in illegal settlements earmarked for demolition by the Lusaka City Council (LCC) have appealed to the local authority to stop their exercise and formalise the areas.
The residents have complained that they had invested a lot in their structures.
One of the residents, Andrew Chomba of Lusaka’s Kamwala said the process of getting land and settling in Lusaka was becoming difficult, making people desperate and easily duped by conmen. "In this case, the government should just be considerate. It is not our fault, it’s their systems which were leaking and needed serious attention, so they should consider our views as well," Chomba said.
Another resident, Memory Musumba said the government's efforts to return sanity to the city may turn into creating more destitution if not carefully handled. Musumba said women headed homes were desperate for their homes and that if they were demolished, it would take them decades to erect shelter for their families.
Alice Zulu, a Lusaka resident said the government could just redesign those areas and make them legal. "This thing of demolition is sheer waste of time, everyone was aware of this situation, so why not just redesign and legalise these areas. Government was just causing panic among the majority who lived in these areas, yes the law is clear but also the plight of the people who created the law should be considered," Zulu said.
And Land Alliance coordinator Henry Machina said the government should continue cleaning its land administration through simplification and decentralisation.
Machina, whose organisation conducted a survey in the areas which have had structures demolished and those earmarked for demolition said people felt land allocation system in the country was non-functional.
"Though the people in the area showed some level of knowledge on land acquisition, they still felt the prescribed system of land allocation in the country was non-functional, as exemplified by the many cases of illegal land allocation," Machina said.
Machina also said government should find a better alternative on illegal settlements and not demolition as the only solution.