Monday, 30 July 2007

Chief Kopa...

That Amanita was allocated 10, 000 ha. of land by Senior Chief Kopa and Chief Luchembe is further evidence of the failure of some chiefs to embrace a Landsafe Trust, whereby customary land is leased out under 'usufruct' and not 99 year renewable leasehold which results in the permanent removal of the land from the community.

Amanita tried to obtain land in Chief Nyalugwe's country but was blocked by the community, with encouragement from myself - and I was assured by the then Minister of Lands, Judith Kapijimpanga, that she would not allow it through were it to land on her desk. However as we are trying to usher in investment to customary areas , we encouraged Nyalugwe to rent land under ususfruct to Amanita; something not attractive to Nyualugwe or Amanita - the chief wanting cash in his pocket, and presumably Amanita wanting the security of a western-style land tenure arrangement.

In 2003, I presented the Landsafe programme for investment to Kopa, his CRB and senior advisors. This would have created a Trust in which investors and donor funds would go into a trust fund and be applied to community development - based on a participatory landuse plan. Kopa never did anything. When Kopa sat on the House of Chiefs he must have received a copy of the Landsafe programme which I had distributed to them all through Chief Chiawa. This later resulted in the Chiefs' representative to the stakeholder workshop for the 5th national Development Plan saying that they accepted the concept of "Chiefs'Trusts'.

What was mentioned (but not placed on the blog) in the article, was President Mwanawasa's statement that no more than 250 ha. may be given out in customary areas. Clearly the Commissoner of Land was acting outside of the law; as he has done in awarding some 10,000 ha. of the Mvuvye National Forest on 99 year lease to a businessman. Despite numerous attempts by myself and the community to have the Forestry Department do something about this, we have so far failed, Forestry now even refuse to see us. There are other long standing issues of land corruption which has been reported but nothing is being done about it.

An unfortunate part of the Amanita attempt to buy land from Nyalugwe, was that Nyalugwe then tried to have myself and Ross Michelson (who bought land from Nyalugwe some time ago) deported; succeeding, for a time, with Michelson.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Robin Palmer comments on draft Land Policy...

The Draft Land Policy
Zambia’s draft Land Administration and Management Policy, but referred to throughout as the Draft Land Policy, is dated October 2006.[1] It is a working rather than a formal policy document and carries this health warning: ‘It should not be quoted and interpreted as the policy of the Government of Zambia or any other government ministry or department until it has been finally agreed and adopted.’

Its final sections on implementation, resource mobilisation and monitoring and evaluation cover barely half a page. There is a brief background section and a brief section on vision, rationale, guiding principles and objectives. The bulk of its 52 pages are devoted to ‘situation analysis, challenges and policy measures’. These cover the following issues: (1) international and internal boundaries, (2) vestment and land tenure, (3) customary tenure, (4) leasehold tenure, (5) land administration, including land allocation and land registration, (6) the Land Development Fund, (7) institutional framework, (8) legal framework, (9) surveys, (10) geo-information, (11) land information, (12) land value and property markets, (13) tax and non tax revenue, (14) spatial planning, (15) dispute resolution, (16) private sector participation, (17) transparency and accountability, (18) cross-cutting issues, including decentralisation, gender, HIV/AIDS and other terminal diseases, persons with disabilities, youth, empowerment of citizens, environment and natural resources, tenure insecurity.

The Draft Land Policy contains many admirably frank admissions concerning an overall lack of human and institutional capacity, lack of information and of basic data, lack of transparency and accountability, outdated laws, policy confusion and even ‘fraudulent behaviours’ and ‘deterioration of integrity among institutions dealing with land management and management.’ In response to the listed challenges, including the wonderful ‘lack of compliance by land users’, it offers a series of policy measures, many of which are of a very general nature, are often banal and stand little serious chance of ever being implemented, e.g. ‘establish a well functioning land delivery system’.

Interestingly, concerns are raised about the potential for political interference if land continues to be vested in the President.

There are suggestions for setting maximum holding sizes linked to capability.

There is a need to ‘ensure that non-citizens and foreign companies are not allowed to acquire land through transfer or purchase of customary land’, but government should ‘introduce measures to encourage leasing of land by foreign investors and residents in line with the Citizenship Economic Empowerment Act.’ Yet later land under customary tenure ‘is not easily accessible for investment purposes’ and hence there is need to ‘carry out sensitisation campaigns in order to ensure that some of the idle customary land can be converted to leasehold to promote investment in various communities.’

99 year leases are too long and should be replaced by a scale of 1-99 years ‘based on advice from Land Use Experts.’

There is a call to ‘ensure that land that remains underdeveloped and unutilised within the specified period is repossessed.’ This has been a serious concern in many parts of the country, especially around the Copperbelt.

On gender, the Draft Land Policy notes among the challenges the lack of an enabling environment, discriminatory inheritance rules and rights, lack of disaggregated data based on gender ‘which makes it difficult to plan’, lack of recognition of women’s labour in agriculture, inadequate participation of women in land administration, lack of advocacy and sensitisation to encourage women to own land.

Robin Palmer
Land Rights Adviser
Mokoro Ltd

Zambian Land legal framework...

Customary Land

There are two categories of land in Zambia: State leasehold (English land law) and Customary (Customary land law), both recognized by the Lands Act No. 27 of 1995. Customary land is made up of Open Areas and GMAs – the latter provided for in the Wildlife Act of 1998.

Customary authorities (headmen under the chairmanship of a chief), may give out land to individuals under customary law with land rights acquired by residence being the most prevalent form within customary tenure, an individual obtaining land from a headmen, in consultation with a chief. Should the individual owner vacate the land, it reverts to the community. No person owns the land in the statutory sense – unless of course application is made for leasehold title, in which case the permission of the chief, the District Council, the Commissioner of Lands, and ZAWA in GMAs - and in the case of applications for areas in excess of 250 ha, the Minister of Lands, is obtained. Provisionary title of 14 years is awarded initially, expanded to a 99 year renewable lease period once cadastral surveys and other requirements are completed.

The Lands Act of 1995 provides for the recognition and continuance of customary tenure, and it provides – under section (8) 3, for the ‘right to use and occupation of land under customary tenure’. The President, in whom all land and wildlife is vested, cannot alienate customary land unless it be with a customary authority’s consent, and only after consulting affected bodies or persons, and – in the case of GMAs, ZAWA. Should land be alienated, and bankruptcy be declared by the owners, the land reverts to the state and not back to customary tenure.

Game Management Areas

GMAs were created in 1971 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 1968 as a planning framework for integrated community and biodiversity development within customary land, and not as another distinct category of protected state land. They are currently viewed by ZAWA as state land under their control, a view supported by their importance in providing them income from hunting leases. While this has served to hamper untrammeled alienation, it also blocks development generally – a mixed blessing.

However, no management plans of any substance have been forthcoming for GMAs and National Parks under ZAWA’s management, and no credible scientific work carried out to provide the basis for sustainable offtakes of wildlife for hunting or cropping.

The Wildlife Act makes certain legal assumptions of the control of customary land, although contradicted by both customary and statutory law (the Lands Act of 1995) and by such traditional practices under African law as contracts of agistment whereby owners of livestock are obliged to pay rental for grazing rights. ZAWA as the ‘owner’ of wildlife pays no such rental, rather extracting concession rentals and game trophy fees. Originally, 50% of concession and trophy fees were paid to CRBs, but concession fees were later reduced by an ad hoc CRB committee to 20% - in both cases 5% going to the chief. In late 2006, at a meeting held between CRBs and ZAWA, it was agreed that the income would in future be shared equally (Axon Lungu, pers. comment).
Land investment

In order to usher in investment and development to customary areas – and through PPPs for National Parks and National Forests, a number of models have been put forward in recent times:

• The Mpumba Model of Chief Mpumba’s area in the Mpika district, financed by WWF USA and implemented by Guy Scott and Rolf Shenton, where an attempt is being made to alienate land under 99 year leasehold to the community for conservation development, and;
• the Landsafe Investment Partnership Model as developed in 2002 by the author after wide consultation (then known as the Chipuna model i.e. a traditional chair), whereby investors, chiefs, Government, NGOs and CRBs form development trusts (limited by guarantee), which oversee landuse and investment plans, attract investment, and receive rentals - earmarked as development funds, into a trust account, all without alienating the land i.e. leasing land under customary, not statutory law. In addition, in order to allow customary landowners to have more security and access to credit, and to counter the increasing clamour for customary landowners to convert to leasehold tenure, something which would ultimately impair traditional culture, the imposition of a customary land registry book is mandatory. A variant of this model was adopted in;
• The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) Kazungula Heartlands Trust models. Here AWF is reportedly implementing a community land trust system based on chiefdoms – essentially the Landsafe Trust Model, “land being designated either for development in partnership with the private sector or for conservation. Under this model, the head lease for the communal land is transferred from the chief to the trust and the trust then allocates land in a participatory manner to private sector partners for development under sub-leases. Should the sub-lease expire, the land will revert to the trust and hence the community will not lose land which is crucial to their livelihoods. The chief acts as patron to the trust and oversees its activities but is not involved in the day-to-day management of its activities.” Based on this model, each of the five chiefdoms in southern Zambia has developed such trusts.

The trust model has, in principle, now been accepted by the chiefs of Zambia – though whether they see it more as being based on statutory leases, is still unclear: “The land leased for commercial use should attract royalties and fees which will form part of the income and resources for financing administration and development projects in their areas.” However, by calling them chiefs’ trusts, infers that chiefs might take up positions on the board, which would simply perpetuate the often undemocratic hold some chiefs have over their people and their disregard for sustainable conservation, land and human rights.

Land alienations

The areas most affected by large land alienations, other than the Kafue, are the lower Zambezi (30 lodge sites alienated by Chieftainess Chiawa over 40 km of river) and the lower Luangwa where chiefs, Luembe, Mwape and Nyalugwe have all sold off customary land greatly in excess of 250 ha without the full agreement of their headmen and subjects, but with the consent of the District Councils and the Commissioner of Lands. One current case before the High Court involves Chieftainess Mwape, who sold that part of the West Mvuvye National Forest (No. 54) once under the Mwape chieftainship – even though it is now fully protected state land, the buyer receiving a 99 year leasehold title from the Commissioner of Lands. This was done despite the fact that the Luembe Conservancy Trust was negotiating a joint forest management (JFM) lease with the Department of Forestry in respect of all of the Mvuvye, as well as a memorandum of understanding with the Mwape chiefdom which would have allowed it to derive benefits from its former traditional area of ownership; and, in addition, despite the Luembe Trust assisting the Chieftainess in her efforts to reclaim another area of land alienated by her late mother to the Petauke District Council, and later obtained by a businessman. Following complaints from the community, this lease has now been cancelled by the Attorney-General on the request of the Forestry Department, the latter vowing to similarly have cancelled a lease recently issued to Royal Luembe Limited for that part of the Mvuvye once under the Luembe chieftainship. However nothing has as yet been done about it.
( Currently, the community are lobbying for the removal once again of Senior Chief Luembe on the grounds of illegally alienating community lands as well as being accused of numerous human rights violations.

Further threats to customary land emanate from those who view it as retarding development, citing the difficulty the state has in obtaining land for development from chiefs, and the problem customary landowners have in raising credit. A recent World Bank presentation on their report compiled for the Ministry of Lands on land policy, advocated that in future all customary land fall under the Ministry, with chiefs assisting the Ministry as land administrators. No consultation was carried out with customary landowners, with the now impotent Natural Resources Consultative Forum (NRCF) – the body supposedly responsible for environmental and natural resources cross-sectoral policy, with chiefs or with civil society in general.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Development visionaries of Zambia...

Chief Chibesakunda and his grouping of business and banking gurus have brought light into the Zambian gloom. Here are some native Zambians, the artesian wells of Zambia's unconscious yearnings to break free from neo-colonialism, of power held at the centre, charting a path forward for the 94% of the country locked in poverty.

Married with the Landsafe investment plan where trust structures are introduced based on the clear voice of community yearnings, traditional knowledge and scientific land capability, real hope exists for the improvement in rural livelihoods and the management of Zambia's natural resources.

For Government it means structured de-centralization and some measure of agreed planning which will allow chiefs to make land available for its own people, for the expansion of towns under district councils, and, under usufruct, for investors.

Agreed by the Royal Empowerment Foundation and the Landsafe mode is that customary land is sacrosanct: not to be sold to foreigner or Zambian alike, merely its use leased out for a specific period and under certain management conditions.

The UN and its Millennium Development Goals, like NEPAD's Peer Review Mechanism, is bankrupt; the grand plan put forward by Jeffrey Sachs (The End of Poverty) just another figment of western donor imagination. Now Zambia has its own plan, not something dreamed up by a rock star or a politician.


Concept designed by Imfumu Chibesakunda XI, Chona Nkumba Palace, Private Bag Chona Nkumba, Chamusenga, Mobile 097 782 6539, e-mail:, Mutambe, Chinsali, Zambia.

1. Summary of the Action

The Project Proposal presented here aims at a socio-economic empowerment of rural communities in selected remote areas of Zambia, under their traditional leaderships, through the promotion and use of the economic potential of each member Chiefdom. The project centres on a business model that uses Chiefdom’s natural assets as a sustainable engine of growth, in close cooperation and partnership with the private sector. Through this approach, it aims at eliminating poverty and leading steadily into a path of broad based wealth creation.

In Log Frame terminology, the Specific Objective of the Project (Project Purpose) is: «Organised member communities make use of their economic assets in the designated Chiefdom’s economic growth areas for their socio-economic empowerment». The expected Outputs, in terms of services provided by the Project, are:

1. To jump starting accelerated development within the Project’s catchment’s area. (Community Economic Mobilisation)
2. The managerial and organisational competence of rural communities within the target area, based on their traditional leadership structures, are strengthened and brought in line with the Project Objectives. (Organisational Development)
3. Member communities are familiarised with investment characteristics and inherent economic potential in their respective community areas. (Rural Community Socio - Economic Emancipation)
4. Production and Commercial investment options at community level are tested and used. (Targeted and Enhanced Community Production and Investment)
5. Upward linkages to industrial and commercial processes of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial projects by mid-sized private sector partners are facilitated. (Enterprise Development)

This will lead to the achievement of the overall objective in terms of benefits for the communities as well as the country: «Rural communities in targeted remote areas of Zambia cover their own economic needs and participate economically in the national economy as equal partners».

By using this model, targeted poverty reduction will be achieved through increased economic activity. This model further delivers the process of rural community use of the abundant unused customary lands as economic assets that can be equitably turned into sustainable vehicles of wealth creation. In these areas additional income for rural smallholders will be mobilised and galvanised. With view to the high poverty levels in the country, this project is ideal as a poverty reduction agent in this respect. The organisational development aspect of the proposal will further ensure that the smallholders get organised and are empowered to better understand and use their market power, and to get a fair share of the economic potential of their assets in their respective areas. This is done through the traditional organisational structures of development oriented, progressive chiefdoms which are economically revived and strengthened and have the potential to provide the institutional basis for powerful smallholder associations and business undertakings as business partners of private sector operators in the various sectors of the Zambian economy. For covering local value added on the produce produced in these areas processing will be done in the respective designated member chiefdom growth areas (which are still quite remote and have no prospects of being serviced in the near future). By testing and using this model, processing will be done at community level. Cottage processing economic activities will be activated, without the need of importing finished or value added goods from far away at high cost into the communities. Intermediate technology that can help enhance production, marketing or commerce will be used. Equipment like hammer mills for the milling of the staple food, maize or finger millet, diesel generators for energy requirements in areas not serviced by the national electricity grid will be promoted. Intermediate transport options will be promoted and introduced in these communities. Construction of planned and serviced settlements will be encouraged. The member Chiefdoms will also explore and test possible intervention areas for cheap alternative energy like solar and bio energy production.

Initially, the Project will concentrate on organising a minimum of 10 and maximum of 17 communities in Northern, Luapula and Central Provinces. All the target chiefdoms are characterised by the remoteness of their locations, and by the development orientation of their traditional leaders. In this way, the project is further designed in a way that it can serve as role models for other chiefdoms to join later, for the empowerment of their local communities around this model.

The Project idea was borne by the Senior Chief Chibesakunda, who approached the World Bank for cooperation in the design and backstopping of this Community Project based on this model. His project idea was to create a model that would help galvanise the target communities into viable tools of development and ultimately start the process of positively confronting the issue of poverty reduction at community level.

The project will initially target a minimum of 60,000 and maximum 102,000 people within the target communities, about 6,000 households in each active member Chiefdom of the Foundation’s catchments area. It is envisaged that Community-based schemes like this one in different target parts of the country would supplement and benefit from each other, through an exchange of experiences and mutual help in upgrading their business and development models.

Based on these project areas, the Project is designed around a synergy with past and present support measures in areas such as the Umutambe community of Chief Chibesakunda and Chief Chibale’s community where development activities such as COMACO (Common Market for Conservation) are already being implemented, that can - through the Project - also be transferred to the other project communities in the other target Provinces. The Umutambe community and Chief Chibale’s community are some setting for the Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) project in Chinsali and Serenje where communities proximate to Game Management Areas (GMAs) are being supported through input provision, conservation messages, processing technology and marketing

With regard to the uplink to commercial companies with the applying communities there will be the Northern Harvest Plc, a home grown Public Limited, mainly drawing its membership to this company from community members of the target communities. This company will be actively interested in a linkage to the project target communities and will be committed to a fair business practice approach that will provide a platform for the various community members to participate in the economic benefits of their efforts.

For example, it is a very recent trend that private sector biofuels companies have begun starting their operation in the country, with the expectation that sooner or later bio diesel blending, or the sale of 100% bio diesel as commercial fuel, will become the standard in the Zambian energy sector, with a nearly unlimited demand for locally produced biofuels.

However, without project support, it is far more profitable for the private sector to secure lands for the establishment of own plantations, and not to get engaged in the tedious business with a large number of small out growers. Hence, the Foundation aims at facilitating the link between out growers who are emerging from a subsistence agriculture level, to medium sized business players who guarantee the economic sustainability of the business approach. In this way transparency will be facilitated in the pricing mechanism and support farmers in gaining an economic understanding of the price-relevant factors. The Foundation can further identify viable partnerships providing seeds to the target communities on an independent revolving scheme, that way the Foundation will also reduce the dependency of the farmers on a particular company who may use the supply of the initial seeds as a mechanism to prevent competing companies from buying the feedstock from “their” out growers. This way the Foundation will ensure that emerging competition among the private sector companies will provide the respective communities with a higher and collective bargaining power, and will enable them to achieve a higher price for their produce.

For Projects the Foundation will play the role of applicant, on behalf of the Network of Target Communities, and would act as imprest administrator and imprest accounting officer, under the direct supervision of representatives of the main community stakeholders in the project. The Foundation will have a Secretariat. The Secretariat will have the central functions for administering the Programme Estimates under an externalised direct labour modality. This organisational set-up will leave the ownership with the community network, while ensuring a professional administrative and financial management of the project. It is anticipated that over the project period of three years, the network and its member community organisations will have matured to continue selected project operations by themselves, and will be in a position to continue their business partnerships with the private sector companies in an emancipated and mutually beneficial way, without external project management support.

The benefits of the project will firstly be at the level of the individual community member, whose efforts will enable to cover their own household economic needs as well as to emerge as commercially successful entrepreneur. But the project will also benefit the country for which the poverty levels are a tremendous burden. The increase in community earnings will also have additional social benefits to the beneficiary communities.

2. Relevance

2.1 Relevance to the Needs and Constraints of the Target Country and Regions

With Zambia being classified as a Least Developed country, the reduction of poverty is a matter of economic survival. The communities requesting assistance are severely under serviced and are characterised by widespread poverty, with poverty levels averaging above 80%. The economic potential of the Target communities is unparalleled for a country where land resources are abundant, however with poor soils and high drought risk.

2.2 Identification of Problems and Needs

The communities involved have very little cash crop alternatives and mainly depend on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods. This does not provide them with sufficient cash income for covering their other needs, including expenses for schooling and health care. Only a tiny fraction of the areas of the respective chiefdoms are serviced by some sort of development. Despite poverty reduction being a national programme, poverty in most chiefs’ communities seems to be on the increase. Therefore, rural poverty reduction has become one of the focal areas for upgrading the living standards of poor rural households.

2.3 Final Beneficiaries, Target Groups, and Intermediaries

In each of the chiefdoms, participatory planning and priority setting sessions have been held under the Strategic District Development Planning process, initiated by the District Councils as the local Government, with financial assistance by the World Bank funded Zambia Social Investment Fund (Zamsif). With viable economic alternative Projects being identified, the implementation of the proposed measures will be organised through traditional organisational structures, where democratic management procedures have been introduced and where there is a great opportunity for grass root involvement in decision making processes. These traditional leadership structures are intermediaries whose actions are considered as co-funding of the Action. The resulting economic and technical capacity empowerment will ensure the long-term sustainability of the approach.

2.4 Relevance of the Proposal to the Call for Proposals

With its focus on poverty reduction in rural communities, to be achieved through economically and ecologically sustainable technical solutions in partnership with the private sector, and through enhancing local self-help capacities under the auspices and ownership of traditional leadership structures, the proposal is at the core of the objectives and intentions of the call for proposal.

2.5 Added Value by Reference to Other Interventions

The project proposal is well linked with ongoing measures funded by various cooperating partners. These include the country programme of GTZ, including ProBec which is funded by the Netherlands Government, the EU-Conservation Farming Project, as well as the Norwegian Government support to Umutambe Community Foundation. In addition, under the Accompanying Measures for the EU Sugar Reform, Zambia has applied for assistance to start with the production of biofuels by introducing ethanol blending from sugar, and to expand the sugar out grower schemes to increase the overall production for this import substitution purpose. Both of these components will be concentrating on the sugar production areas in Southern and Northern Province, and will thereby also offer synergy effects with the Royal Empowerment Foundation.

3. Methodology and Sustainability

3.1 Appropriateness of proposed activities for the objectives and expected results

The institutional links to relevant national public authorities will be maintained through the Foundation’s presence at national level, as well as through the personal contacts and institutional linkages of the chiefs involved, including through the House of Chiefs as a national consultative body. The type of technology suggested is appropriate for the household level (use of bio oil for lamps and stoves), the community level (use of intermediate technology for machinery), and at the level of the industrial uplink through the private sector processing of products. With biodiesel being promoted as a new venture in Zambia, the energy service delivery model has not been established yet. However, experiences from other countries, including the European Union shows that this is a fast growing market with a high potential in a land locked country like Zambia. The Foundation will strategically position itself to venture.

3.2 Involvement and participation of partners and target groups

The proposed project is well in line with Government priorities in the sectors agriculture (promotion of small-holder out grower schemes), energy (promotion of bio-energy), and decentralisation (utilisation of traditional leadership structures for development planning and management) as stated in the recently adopted Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP). The rural communities are mobilised to participate through their traditional leaders who are still maintaining a strong influence in the countryside.

3.3 Prospects for a sustainable impact on the target group

The proposed activities have a very high probability of inducing sustainable long-term impacts for the socio-economic situation of the households, utilisation of the development potential of traditional community leadership structures, and the local as well as national environment.

4. Operational Capacity and Expertise.

4.1 Project Management Experience of the Applicants

It is seen that the community based initiatives would, for the time being, not have the managerial capacity to administer a Donor-funded project of the scale as proposed here. Therefore, the Northern Harvest Plc and links to the national and economic policy, as well as its link to the professional business ethics and access to the relevant resources was brought in and will smoothen these current weaknesses. Nevertheless, day-to-day management and operations of the project will be largely executed by the target communities themselves. Among the community organisations involved, it is in particular Senior Chief Chibesakunda who has gained extensive project management experience in his previous professional career as a business consultant for design and implementation engagements (e.g. NORAD Project, funded by the Norwegian Government, Nacala Development Corridor Project, funded by the Development Bank of South Africa). Part of the project will also be to strengthen the respective management capacities among the communities involved.

4.2 Technical and Energy Expertise of the Applicants

All communities have already technical expertise of some sort. At the local level, the Umutambe Community Development Foundation Limited is already active with the search for technical solutions in the management of their affairs for various purposes including social development.

The Conservation Farming Unit of the Zambia National Farmers Union also in collaboration with the Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART) has 10 years experience in the development and promotion of more efficient Conservation Farming production for small-scale farmers and has been at the forefront of promoting the exciting opportunities provided by Jatropha cultivation for rural communities. With respect to bio-energy use and technical energy solutions, the intended partnership with the cooperating private sector companies will ensure the availability of the required technical expertise.

The Royal Empowerment Foundation of Zambia sets out its constitution...

In Zambia like in most sub-Saharan countries in Africa, a dichotomous economic structure is what is at play. This where traditional subsistence sector (small scale farming), dominated by agriculture and animal husbandry, engages the majority of the population in rural areas. A more modern market oriented sector, employing a smaller percentage of the population, generates most of the tax revenue and foreign exchange

Land on the other hand since time in memorial has been held under customary tenure, while the coming of European settlers saw the introduction of freehold and leasehold tenure systems. Under the current system of tenure, customary land is estimated to be 94 percent and state land is estimated at 6 percent of the total land area of the country whose area is 752,614 square kilometres. Under these two (2) categories there is reserve land which is allocated to nature, forest and wildlife sanctuaries. The Land under forest account 9 percent of the total landmass of the country approximately 67,680 square kilometres, while land for National Parks accounts for 8 percent approximately 60,160 square kilometres and Game Management Areas about 22 percent approximately 165, 440 square kilometres.

This system of tenure over time has had a negative impact on the development of rural Zambia simply because there has been no serious attempt to change the economic paradigm set by the colonisers because Zambia has just inherited the colonial economic paradigm without a proper analysis of why these paradigms were set this way by the coloniser instead Zambia continued with these economic paradigms the change today is in the names of these classes of land only; for example, “historically what is today referred to as state land today is the land that was designated for European settlement and was referred to as Crown Land while customary land was the Native Reserves and Trust Lands and was designated for native settlement pre – independence. In this arrangement, production and marketing infrastructure were established on Crown Land where Europeans were settled while the Native Reserves were neglected”.

This was an economic strategy on the part of the coloniser because exclusion from markets effectively devalued African produce in preference to labour (subsistence) as before rather than as producers of surplus products for the emerging colonial market. The persistence of subsistence production is for that reason tied to the policy of land reservation, which concentrated development on land under statutory tenure, ignoring customary areas. Native Reserves and Trust Lands were left in hands of the traditional chiefs and were located far from the markets in places badly served by communications and transport. In this way, Zambia’s colonial legacy created the conditions for persistence of subsistence production and poverty in rural areas of Zambia and sadly this legacy has continued post independence to this current day.

Notwithstanding the fact that today, all land is vested in the President for and on behalf of the people of Zambia. The Commissioner of Lands administers the state land as farms and agricultural holdings, as stands for buildings and other uses. Chiefs on the other hand, administer land in customary areas which are normally used as village settlements and subsistence agricultural production but the Commissioner of Lands may allocate land under customary tenure provided that it is vacant and the Chief does not object and once land is converted from customary tenure to leasehold tenure it becomes state land. State land attracts levies and tax. The structural defect is that there is no provision for compensation or evidence of the presence of an opportunity sharing structure between the state and the Chiefdom from where land is being converted from customary tenure to state land. What is evident is that resources are being shifted from the 94% (land under customary tenure) to finance the 6% (land under statutory tenure) because once land becomes state land it starts attracting government levies and tax through the Rural District Councils yet, there is no equitable distribution of the resources collected between government and the Chiefdoms that allow for conversion of customary tenure into leasehold tenure. These resources will end up servicing land under statutory tenure where development has been concentrated since colonisation, ignoring customary areas that are still far from the markets in places badly served by communications and transport. To date rural Zambia is faced with very harsh conditions, although in principle all Zambians are free and equal and should all have access to available resources. In practice, rural duellers neither have the knowledge, economic influence nor the organisational framework to lobby for better livelihoods.

As a result rural Zambia whose main pre-occupation is small scale farming has lagged behind other regions in Africa, in terms of real development as a result. Developments have further been constrained by the absence of sufficient speculation by potential Investors in rural Zambia and the slow pace of investment in extension services and the lack of marketing activities have further compounded the many hardships that a small-scale farmer faces today. Though, recently Zambia has been recording some positive investment growth in other areas, it still has yet to attract some meaningful investments into rural Zambia and rural agriculture in particular.

This failure by entrepreneurs and other stakeholders within the target area to place visionary, value added, and internationally credible projects capable of mobilising the necessary risk capital and development fund to match that vision and strategy has caused the paucity of investment speculation and capital expenditures in rural Zambia. This under-performance of the Zambian rural areas and the express need to reverse this trend is the back drop and the central issue to the creation of this Royal Empowerment Foundation (REF).

In this initiative, the Royal Empowerment Foundation (REF) aims to create Land Banks of 10,000 hectares in each member Chiefdom to be used as economic growth zones for the member Chiefdom within the target area at the same time create a voice for rural Zambia. The Land Banks will be registered under leasehold tenure in name of the member Chiefdom in each area. The Royal Empowerment Foundation (REF) the aim is to focus on its Primary Vision; that of locking on to initiatives that will trigger the majority of its membership into positive tools of development. The strategy is prudent as it will explore avenues on how to organise its communities, while at the same time engage the government, business operators together with co-operating partners alike, on equal basis, to address these most profound and fundamental issues, with a view of establishing and placing sustainable, credible and profitable partnerships within the target area.

The Initiative aims to target traditional organisational structures of development oriented, progressive chiefdoms which are economically revived and strengthened and have the potential to provide the institutional basis for powerful smallholder Foundation s and business undertakings as business partners of private sector operators in the various sectors of the Zambian economy.

The Land Banks will provide readily available land for the various economic activities and will be designed as eco friendly community social and economic commercial and industrial growth zones. The guiding principle is the placement and development of vibrant community designed, community grown and community driven economic growth clusters within the target area. In order to strategically position itself for community driven development and raise the necessary risk capital to match that vision of development, a more appropriate special purpose vehicle in Royal Harvest Plc (RH Plc), a public Limited Company will be further created and placed as the commercial wing of REF within the target area to take charge of commercial aspect of REF’s development agenda.

The Plc will provide the Foundation with the uplink to commercial players who would be interested in working within the Foundation’s catchment’s area. The Plc will ensure that these incoming commercial players are committed to a fair business practices approach that would allow the individual communities in the catchment’s area participate in the economic benefits of their resources by buying stock in the Royal Harvest Plc. This strategy is prudent as it allows for transparency and wider participation through the share floatation in the Capital Market

A former M.P. for Mkushi says...

The committee of Lands and Natural Resources was in 1994/5 informed by the Minstry of Lands officials that less than 6% of the land of Zambia had been alienated to private ownership and less than 1% was in the hands of foreigners. Even if this has doubled now, which I doubt, it is not an factor in Zambia's inability to attract prosperity. Archaic immigration policy combined with this pathetic excuse for failure drafted into the draft Land Policy is just another decoy put out by selfish leaders in government who cannot be bothered to concentrate for two minutes on creating a realistic environment for the disenfranshed masses to prosper. Perhaps general prosperity would threaten the low standards of governance. I see no future for investment in production if this is really where our thinking is. Real farm values have declined steadily since land security was first tampered with the early 70's and only recovered for a couple of years when Zimbabwe land appropriation displaced some investment in the first half of this decade.

For Gods sake lets focus on the real problem here: Pan Africa GDP has dropped from 3% to 1.5% of the global GDP. African Governments have had absolute control of the continent for nearly half a century now so blame cannot be cast far. In this period we have squandered and stolen more international assistance than anyone else in the history of mankind.

Bweulele, chincha gear Zambian policy makers- stop falling for the oldest tricks in the book. Europe is presenting us with the biggest opportunity yet to reverse the decline- BioFuel. Make land available for investment and endorse secure investment structures like Landsafe and let our rural brothers become the arabs of vegetable oil and Ethanol.No-one can transport raw oil seeds and sugar cane to Europe for refining so we would automatically benefit from secondary industry. (Landsafe is an investment structure which fosters partnership and could offer enough security if government would back it). You can negotiate a share in prosperity but there are no shares in poverty.

Rolf Shenton

Friday, 20 July 2007

NGO Bill before Zambian Parliament....

An NGO Bill which will bring NGOs under the control of Government, is presently being debated in the Zambian Parliament. As NGOs here represent an embryonic pluralistic state, this is of major concern. That yet another quango will be formed with a Board and another layer of bureaucrats seeking to bring civil society and business under greater government control is cause for concern. As a registered NGO in Zambia, we have not been consulted on the proposed Bill.

Land Alliance contribution...

“…the draft land policy and the Lands Act of 1995 should be reviewed to protect the poor on customary land with consideration of the following:

In relation to the over ambitious aim to promote title deeds in rural areas, the policy should consider leasing of land under customary tenure system directly without first converting such land to the state land. Such lands must continue to be in the hands of traditional rulers without the local communities losing their customary rights to the leased land. Failure to do this could perpetuate whole selling of agricultural land by speculators to the rich minority, as has been the experience in the last seven (7) years under the 1995 Lands Act
Leasing of land that is under customary tenure system should be done at village/community level and not at national level. The answer does not lie in turning customary land into state land but rather in giving democratic local authorities/community leaders powers to lease land to individuals and institutions. The leased land will still be under customary tenure system and will remain under the control of a chief/chieftainess. Local communities should not lose their customary rights over such lands. Where it requires “big projects” such as mining, construction of bridges, etc., the Government in conjunction with local communities can offer special longer leases.”

More comments on the draft Land Policy...

Dear James,

You are right in saying that land and the rights of the poor are inextricably interlinked. In much of customary land, leasehold tenure should not be allowed as it inevitably disenfranchises the poor. However, many chiefs have conspired to do this for some salaula, a chigaya and a soon to be rusticated gari moto. The Lands Act is particularly responsible for this. However, District Councils and the Ministry of Lands have allowed it to happen. We even have chiefs selling off parts of National Forests - which once were customary land, with the approval of corrupt elements within government.

The way forward is to allow the land to be leased by investors, both foreign and local, under usufruct, registered with the Commissioner of Lands, with income paid into community trust funds as per the Landsafe Investment model. Land held by villagers, properly allocated by headmen and not necessarily chiefs, should be registered in a land registry book at the local level – their boundaries recorded simply by a GPS, allowing villagers to gain credit through having increased security of tenure. And the natural resources which the land supports should also be placed under the protection and custodianship of these local trusts, suitably empowered and directed by a community landuse plan, one which has nothing to do with irrelevant national planning and the centralized control so beloved of donors and government alike, and everything to do with the full participation and direction by local communities of their own affairs and the land which should bless and not alienate them.

Inevitably, chiefs are being called to account by their communities on land alienations as democratization spreads and the power of witchcraft wanes. The creation of associations, trusts and other community based organizations will ensure this, as will the recovery of past powers held by the people. However, the rights of the poor are under threat from stealthy statutory instruments, the regulations required to support poorly written Acts or to give powers to government departments which should not rightfully be theirs. An example of this is the regulations on Game Management Areas drawn up by ZAWA, in which are draconian punishments for villagers who do not report fires and so on are in place. Such regulations become law by a simple process of a draft being approved by the Ministry of Justice and being signed into law by the appropriate Minister. The price here is eternal vigilance and the dissemination of information to communities who live in the dark. Only then will they call Government and donors to account.

Ian Manning
Luembe Conservancy Trust

On 29/6/07 08:40, "James Kasongo" wrote:

Dear Fr. Chama and all network members Mansa District Land alliance,

Thanks for the professional analysis of the draft land policy. It addresses the concerns which most of us who are involved rural development have been raising regarding the loss ends of the draft land policy. It is my hope that Zambia Land alliance will this time around mobilize civil society to challenge this discriminatory draft land policy meant to promote the interest of the investors and a few privileged Zambians usually politicians.

Zambia is for all of us. We all need land. Zambia is not for sale nor is it for investors, it is for the poor of the poorest who have not alternative homes. Investor have alternatives, some of them can easily go back to there countries and get land, the rich and powerful politicians can buy the statutory land because they have money. And yet the poor in villages depend on their inherited land carefully managed and protected by their royal highness -our respected Traditional leaders. Just like the constitution, CSO should stand up and challenge this half hearted draft land policy.
James Kasongo

Initial comments on the draft Land Policy...

Excerpt from draft:
"2.1.2 Colonial Origins of Land Administration
2.1.3 Colonisation involved taking away of land from the indigenous people by Europeans for their settlement and use. This altered the humankind land relationships furthering the evolution of individual property rights to land within customary tenure as a means to participate in the product, capital and labour markets.
2.1.4 Colonial administration selected superior land for European settlement (Northern Rhodesia (Crown and Native Lands) Order in Council 1928 - 1963). Later the colonial administration created Trust Lands under the then Northern Rhodesia Trust Lands Orders in Council 1947 to 1963 in an effort to decongest the reserve land. Many Africans were forcibly dispossessed of their land and moved to areas designated as native reserves. Production and marketing infrastructure were established on crown land where Europeans were settled and native reserves were neglected. Exclusion from markets effectively devalued African produce in preference for production of labour (subsistence) as before rather than as producers of surplus products for the emerging colonial market. The persistence of subsistence production is for that reason tied to the policy of land reservation, which concentrated development on land under statutory tenure, ignoring customary areas. Native Reserves and Trust lands were located far from markets, in places badly served by communications and transport and often infertile or infested with tsetse flies and lacking in water. This is the way in which Zambia’s colonial legacy created the conditions for persistence of subsistence production and poverty in rural areas of Zambia today. "

It is disappointing to find evidence of such poor scholarship on so important a document - particularly for the customary land of Zambia. The bias against Europeans is shocking. There is no mention of the successive colonialist waves of non-Europeans making inroads and displacing aboriginal peoples, no mention of the militancy of the the Ngoni and the Makololo and their impacts on the tenure of existing populations. When the BSA Co set up shop at the end of the 19th century and built the railway there were perhaps 300,000 people living in present day Zambia. European settlers therefore settled along the line of rail, or at Fort Jameson and Abercorn. Whom may I ask did they displace? And the war waged between the Ngoni and the Northern Charterland Exploration Company was between two sets of colonists! And with the advent of Imperial rule in 1924, a number of land commissions established 38, 866 sq miles of reserves with about 100 acres per head in which European colonists were barred. These commissions agonized over black rights (and many of these people were not indigenous to Zambia anyhow), being hated by white settlers for doing so.

Ian Manning