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.

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