World Bank; farmers

Subjects displaced by chiefdom sale want court to eject buyer

Subjects displaced in the controversial chiefdom sale in Zambia’s Central Province have turned to the courts to eject the buyer.

In an application filed in the High Court of Zambia, they ask that the investor be ordered to cease the fishing and hunting activities he conducts in the area.

In an affidavit Mackson Kabwenga, on behalf of the subjects, said the land in question was secured from his Royal Highness Chief Kaindu for purposes of establishing a community game ranch.

The Kaindu chiefdom came to national attention when it emerged that it was sold to a foreign investor. The sale provoked a national outcry, intensifying calls to bar foreign land ownership.

Government has since ordered an investigation into the transaction in which massive collusion with local government officials is alleged.

The chief has denied any involvement in the transaction.

The 1995 Lands Act puts all land in the hands of the president, for and on behalf of the Zambian people. It provides for administration in terms of two systems: statutory and customary tenure.

Statutory land is administered in accordance with written laws by government officials, while customary land is governed by traditional authorities using unwritten and local customary laws.

This arrangement made it easier for the acquisition of customary land through local traditional leaders. However, the land acquired was unsecured for long-term investment and not titled.

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