Several prominent community members in Zambezi region at Kayuwo in Kongola constituency have expressed concern over illegal land deals reportedly involving some indunas selling communal land to “investors” and “foreigners” apparently for a song.
Prime pieces of pristine land, measuring up to two hectares, is being sold for a meagre N$2 500 to N$3 000 by some senior indunas to augment their salaries of N$1 100.
These land deals that have become the norm at Mubiza, Liselo and Kayuwo villages involve some senior traditional leaders in cohorts with some indunas who use land as a cash cow.
As a result, the buyers fence off large tracts of land although this is prohibited in communal areas, and this results in villagers using commonage areas having their livestock’s movements blocked and cutting off the animals from grazing and water sources.
New Era was reliably informed some traditional leaders are prone to bribes, as some of them have received second-hand vehicles and other material that they exchange for land at the expense of the long-suffering communities who revere and are afraid to ‘offend’ indunas.
“We are losing huge tracts of land as a community at the hands of our village headmen; they are selling land without consulting their subjects who, in the end, are most affected. They are not following procedures, which is to deliberate land sales with people on the ground. They are tribal leaders who are supposed to protect the interest of the masses, as we are the custodians of the land. Now, they are selling our future out,” said a concerned resident of Mashi in Kongola constituency who requested anonymity citing possible reprisals.
“Look at Kuyuwa area; land has been sold to foreigners who are without documents even, mostly those from neighbouring Zambia. How do you accept N$3 000 for land stretching more than a kilometre? On the other hand, we now also have the Chinese,” lamented a resident of Choi.
Sharing a similar sentiment was the secretary at the khuta at Choi, Bornwell Mutelo, who said they are concerned about conflict to arise in future, as the land is not being given appropriately and it is being parcelled out illegally.
He noted that there are tribal conflicts that have marred the region for years when it comes to traditional authority boundaries, but now it turns out that it is a mix of people.
“We are not against the allocation of land in any jurisdiction of a traditional authority but headmen should halt that process now until existing conflicts (over land) are resolved. I did my research and I found out that huge tracts of land are sold out in areas of Mubiza and Liselo, but these deals are not known to the community and sometimes the traditional authority on how they were conducted; this brings conflict because you will allocate someone on another’s land,” said Mutelo.
He also said such cases always boils down to the little allowances the leaders are receiving; hence, they are susceptible to bribes. As such, the concerned residents appealed to government to increase the allowances of traditional authorities to avoid selling the nation.