Sunday, December 15, 2013

Locals not fully protected by land laws - ZLA
By Fridah Nkonde
Tue 29 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

ZAMBIA Land Alliance executive director Henry Machina says it is clear that local people are not fully protected by the Zambia's land laws.

Commenting on church-related organisations operating in SADC who last week criticised African governments for betraying people by allowing massive land grabbing by foreign multinationals, Machina said the alliance was carrying out research in Zambia to get evidence on what was on the ground.

"We know that there are a lot people talking about this issue. It is not easy to know how many have been affected but we are researching and we will soon share our findings with the public. We have been to the North-Western Province…people are being affected," Machina said.

He said Zambia Land Alliance wanted to see policy changes in land matters.

Machina said in Zambia, land grabbing by multinational companies was rampant because it involved large pieces of land being given to the investors.

"We have Kalumbila Mine, Lumwana which are still expanding and where will our local people go? All these areas, people are being affected. So for us as Zambia Land Alliance, we need to see how people are being affected. There is need to see the gaps in our laws. Once companies negotiate and buy the land, people are just told to leave without having a clue as to where they will go to and don't even know how much they are supposed to be given as compensation. They are given a small house, small field and other things," he said.

Machina said local people valued their land more than money, adding that there was emotional attachment to the land that they had occupied for a long time.

"When land is given to foreigners, local people suffer because they are taken somewhere else where they are supposed to cover long distances for them to go to school, clinic…sometimes, they even decide to migrate to urban areas where they even become more poor," he said.
Machina said the absence of the land policy had greatly affected Zambia.

Church leaders and activists from Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe - who met in Durban recently - singled out national elites and African governments as the major actors in land grabbing.

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