Saturday, March 21, 2009

Letters - New constitution, land question

New constitution, land question
Written by Simeo Siame
Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:07:05 AM

Let it be made abundantly clear to all citizens of this country that land under the new constitution shall not remain a subject of market forces. This is my proposal. But any Zambian citizen by virtue of their citizenship shall be entitled to utilise land upon request after establishing the need.

If this were not so, the liberation struggle that was fought by the founding fathers would be in vain if their reason to fight was not to free land from the imperial colonisers to benefit the legitimate owners of the land.

After independence, the entire country which was in the hands of foreigners was now converted into indigenous hands. This did not mean that Zambians would once more begging for land any more. They had regained it back from the colonisers who had usurped for their Queen in the first place.

It would therefore be folly for any Zambian to convince themselves that land is a tradable commodity. As a property of the Zambian people, no one in their right mind, must sell it. This is simply because this land must be preserved for posterity. The commissioners currently sitting at the NCC to fashion a new constitution for this country must be patriotic and magnanimous enough to distinguish between treachery and betrayal of the Zambian people and their nationalism.

These commissioners must understand that this land called Zambia in its entirety is a unitary and indivisible property of the Zambian people. It is land which does not even belong to any ruling government. No authority can supersede the people’s collective power of ownership of this land under any conditions or circumstances including pure greed.

The imperial and commercial mentality which currently exists over land in minds of most Zambians must therefore be discarded because the imperative is that all Zambian land must be preserved commencing from now, for future generations and its posterity if Zambia is to continue in its existence as a unitary and sovereign State.

Let me repeat in making this point abundantly clear that if this country is to remain in one piece, in a recognisable form as a country which recognisably belonging to a ‘One Nation’ and to escape potential future conflagration of land wars, no piece of this land can be sold.

Already the country has witnessed several parcels of land that have been awarded sometimes on silver Platter, to foreigners and foreign governments for their personal use. This has to be stopped by this new constitution. No Zambian can wander off into a distant land and be allowed to own land on a 99 year leasehold title?

This will not happen in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Egypt, Germany, the UK, and not even in Col Gadaffi’s Libya. What is wrong with Zambia?

The new constitution should simply read that all Zambian land is not for sale. This must be so in order to hold this land for future generations. However, the new land administrative apparatus to be established by the government will be empowered to process all land requirement applications throughout the country with a view to satisfying the land needs of all persons including foreign investors without any discrimination. This is the only way available for us to go. I rest my case.

Zambian Airways’ debt, govt’s response
Written by Raphael Mukuka, Sydney, Australia
Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:06:20 AM

It’s good that the letter that got Magande fired from the government has finally been published so that we could all get a clear background to this story.
After reading the letter, one can tell that too much noise has been made about the letter that hardly suggests the magnified wrong doing as announced by RB.

The letter does not suggest or imply forgiving a debt but rather have the payment deferred so that Zambian Airways can survive this turbulent time like many other companies affected by the global financial crunch.

Government has given so many tax incentive to foreign businesses operating in Zambia and that would be interpreted as discriminatory and a disadvantage to local investors.

In the name of fostering the economy, we have accepted those tax incentives to foreign businesses but when it comes to our own people, it suddenly becomes a huge offence.

What is wrong with a deferred payment incentive given to a local company? The only sin committed here is the Post Newspaper being a shareholder and government wants to use this as a weapon to weaken them.

How many companies have debts to government? Are they being flogged into tribunals or scrutiny? Zamtel, Zesco and suppliers are owed huge debts by the government. Are we going to set up tribunals to settle scores with anyone owing?

The shareholders in Zambian Airways have not denied the debt or refuse to settle it and being the only locally owned company in aviation, we should support its existence.

These are hard times and even bigger airlines are struggling and some are even merging with other airlines to remain in the business and save job loses.

From all this fuss about Zambian Airways, no one has even cared less to talk about the job loses and families affected after the stand-off operations.

Magande was wise and vigilant of the economic hardships and understood his duties. We cannot let emotions take over and settle scores with divergent views under the disguise of the government veil.

We need Zambian Airways back in the sky, save jobs and bring us pride as a nation. The government should not be in the forefront to discourage local investment by unnecessary fault finding just because they are not comfortable with certain shareholders.

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