Zambian chiefs seek meeting to fix land reform policy “defects”

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Zambia’s House of Chiefs wants a national summit to break the impasse on the proposed national land policy.

“Our view is that government should call for an indaba to make sure that all 288 chiefs attend, and ample time be given to go through the draft national land policy,” said Chairperson Chief Ngabwe.

Ngabwe made the call soon after meeting President Edgar Lungu. He was accompanied by Paramount Chief Chitimukulu. The duo two did not disclose the nature of their discussions with the President.

Tensions have been simmering between chiefs and government over the draft land policy, and matters boiled over last week when the traditional rules walked out of a consultative meeting.

Also read: Zambian chiefs walk out of land legislation meeting

According to Ngabwe, traditional leaders want a policy that expressly protects the chieftaincy and upholds the preservation of the administration of the customary land tenure system. He said the current form of the draft land policy is “defective” and will lead to undesired consequences, including civil strife.

“We do not want to be seen as antagonists, but we are keen to see peace and unity maintained by coming up with a land policy acceptable by all.”

Earlier in the week, Vice President Inonge Wina allayed the concerns of the chiefs, assuring them that they will continue to be custodians of customary land.

Also read: Zambian chiefs to retain customary land powers

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