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Chief at centre of controversial land sale denies involvement

The Zambian government says the investigation into the controversial land sale by a traditional chief will continue, despite the chief denying all involvement in the transaction.

Chief Kaindu of the Kaonde people in Central province’s Mumbwa district says the allegations against him are baseless. “It is not true and none of the headmen have been served with eviction letters. I’m very upset. If you want, you can go and ask people in the 26 villages,” Chief Kaindu said in a speech read by a representative.

Lands Minister Jean Kapata, her Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Counterpart Lawrence Sichalwe and Central Province Minister Sydney Mushanga, recently visited the area as part of the investigation into the matter. According to chief Kaindu, he still resides in the palace which was allegedly sold along with several surrounding villages.

Government, however, insists that the investigation will continue. “Further investigations would have to be carried out by appropriate officers to look into every aspect of the allegations,” Kapata said.

The alleged land sale involving 20 000 hectares of land sparked national outrage, with many Zambians describing it as the epitome of greed by traditional leaders.

Traditional leaders are empowered under the customary land tenure system to give out land of up to 250 hectares, subject to meeting conditions set by the Ministry of Lands and the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA). Statutory land is administered by the Ministry of Lands and local councils.

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