Thursday, 11 October 2007

A statement on Zambia's draft land policy...

The 5th National Development Plan had this to say...
It is noted that a significant cause of environmental degradation has been inadequate institutions, particularly ill-
defined property rights. This is also due to the fact that much of the land in Zambia is under traditional tenure or
‘open areas’ and administered by traditional rulers. Under the various traditional arrangements, the tenure
regimes have no clearly defined property rights since the community usually has open access to natural
resources. The dynamics of open access are the basis of the ‘tragedy of the commons’. For many years, there has
been no national land-use planning framework to specify how land should be allocated for various purposes and
what land should be reserved for different future uses at the national, provincial, and district levels.

The 1995 Lands Policy and Act are aimed at ensuring that all Zambians are afforded the same opportunity and
encouraged to access and own land under leasehold title in customary land areas. This move is seen to be
progressive in as far as putting in place a system of security of land tenure is concerned, which provides some
incentives for sound environmental protection. Progress to date has, however, been very limited on this issue.
There has also been limited private sector investment in the Natural Resources Sector in the past to stimulate
growth and development. Indigenous people and local entrepreneurs have also not, as a whole, been much
involved in investment in the Sector. Moreover, efficient and effective information management systems are key
to modern day natural resource management (NRM). Currently, the Sector lacks systematic and comprehensive
information management systems to effectively support decision-making and operations and facilitate
information dissemination. As consequence, it has been difficult to establish any credible trends in the status of
Zambia’s natural resources.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Zambia: Chiefs Pursue Title Deeds

The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
4 October 2007
Posted to the web 4 October 2007

SOME chiefs have proposed that the Government should start issuing title deeds to chiefs for the land that constitutes their chiefdoms to curb illegal squatting and boundary squabbles. Chief Nkana of Lufwayama District said that he had learnt a hard lesson of not having a title to his chiefdom where mineral benefits had not trickled down to the subjects. The motion to urge the Government to allow chiefs to obtain title deeds for their chiefdoms was moved by Chief Shaibila of the Lala people in Mkushi District and was seconded by Chief Nzamane of Chipata district. The house was being chaired by Chief Mumena of Solwezi.

Chief Nkana, who was earlier against the motion, observed that had the first Chief Nkana been clever enough to obtain title deeds for his chiefdom, the copper which was being mined on the Copperbelt could have brought great benefit to the current generation. He wondered why a chief could not have title to his customary land when his subjects were having titles to their pieces of land within the chiefdom. Chief Anananga Imwiko cautioned investors who trek to chiefdoms where they know such chiefdom had no title deeds to stop the practice because chiefs had powers to oppose any investment which was disadvantaging the local people.

In his contribution, Chief Hamusonde noted that title deeds had advantages and disadvantages.

"I am in favour of this motion. Title deeds are good to solve boundary squabbles and wrangles in chiefdoms but what I want to ask is, who is going to get the ground rates, the Government or the chiefdoms?" he asked.

Chief Mumena said the motion had generated a lot of heated debate and allowed Chief Bundabunda of Chongwe District who was against the idea, to make his contribution before allowing the motion-mover to wind up the debate. Chief Bundabunda called on his fellow chiefs to understand, "Title deed" as they debated because to his understanding, there was no need for customary land to have title deeds but that could be possible if it was State land which needed titles.

In winding up the motion, Chief Shaibila called for a review of the land policy where three titles should be issued, the municipal, customary and State title deeds to solve the problems surrounding land issues countrywide.