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.

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