Lands and Natural Resources Minister Hon Jean Kapata says a total of 415 foreigners acquired land and obtained title deeds in Zambia from 2014 to 2019. Responding to a question in Parliament, Friday, by Chipili independent member of parliament Jewis Chabi who asked how many foreign nationals acquired land and obtained title deeds countrywide from 2014 to 2019, Kapata said 415. She further disclosed that the acquisition of land by foreign nationals had in some cases disadvantaged local people. “The number of foreign nationals who have acquired land and obtained title has to some larger extent disadvantaged the ability for local people to own land ” she said.

Zambia like every other nation, has symbols of national sovereignty.
While the national flag and the national anthem stand out as symbols of national sovereignty, land, too, is among the emblems.
It is, therefore, worrisome, the rate at which foreigners in Zambia are acquiring land, in fact huge parcels for that matter.

Foreigners are owning land when most citizens have nothing to point at as their share of the national endowement.

Worse still, some multinational corporations have been displacing local people from fertile land to barren land.

We are not averse to investments and development with the aid of foreign support, but a line must be drawn on who owns what.

This is what has led to land becoming an emotive issue especially that an ever-increasing number of citizens is beginning to appreciate the value of land.

Foreigners cannot be blamed for helping themselves to land in Zambia. They are often within the law when acquiring land and since they have the financial muscle, who can blame them for getting huge tracts of this natural resource?.

The challenge is in the adequacy of guidelines.
With land on high demand due to citizens and foreigners interested in participating in economic activities in the country, it has become necessary to revisit regulations governing land ownership.
There is need to strike a balance between the country’s need for foreign investment in land and the needs of the citizens.

Government’s decision to launch the Land Policy is, therefore, most opportune. This will be the first time the country will have a national land policy.

Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Jean Kapata told Parliament yesterday that Government will not regulate the selling of land by Zambians but will lease land to foreigners and regulate it. Perfect.

Ms Kapata acknowledged that it is very difficult to control the sale of land, just as it is unfair to stop a Zambian to sell their land.

Much as putting up such a law would seem unfair, there certainly is nothing unfair about Zambians saying that the land is “ours”.
The land may be leased to the foreigners and this should be good enough for them to do their business.

The land policy scheduled for tabling before dissolution of Parliament next month is evidently well thought out. It makes a lot of sense and should have come earlier.
It is expected that this policy will be fully accepted by all Zambians because it is for their own good, and for the good of future generations.

Of course those Zambians that already have large tracts of land have the right to sell all or part of it, but now this has to be to Zambians. This form of wealth must remain in the hands of Zambians.

There are some Zambian landlords who could argue or lament that most Zambians do not have the financial muscle to buy land at the prices foreigners offer.

This may be true, but it is also true that it is senseless to virtually give away land. That is why there is a provision in the policy for leasing the land to foreigners.

We do not have to look far to see the adverse effects of selling land to foreigners. In some chiefdoms, some traditional leaders have sold of large portions of their land to foreigners. Some of their subjects have done the same. For seemingly good cash, they have let foreigners own their traditional land.

Many locals in such situations hardly have anything to show for the ‘good money’ they were paid for the priceless land.

Some of them have even become workers for these foreigners and can only nostalgically look at the land they once called their own. Such are situations the policy will or should address.
This is why this policy must come into effect quickly before more land is surrendered.
Zambians should also appreciate the value of land not only by the price value, but more by what they can do on it while they own it.

The same reasons that foreigners are buying it should drive Zambians into doing the same. Be it for agriculture development or manufacturing, surely, Zambians have the capacity to be their own developers and employers.
Land is for Zambians.



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