Newly proposed Land Policy does not apply to Barotseland – Zambia’s Land Minister confirms to Parliament

18 July 2018
Author  Lubasi Lubasi and Sibeta Mundia, Barotseland Post
Jean Kapata - Minister of Lands and Natural Resources


Zambian minister in charge of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Jean Kapata, told Parliament on Tuesday 17th July 2018 that the draft Land policy currently under consideration by her Ministry does not apply to Western Province (Barotseland).

Responding to a question on whether the land policy covers all parts of Zambia, Kapata reiterated her earlier explanation to the house that the land policy does not apply to Barotseland.

A few weeks ago Kapata responded to a similar question and when queried as to why the land policy only applied to 9 provinces, she responded that the Zambian constitution was very clear that Barotseland has its own land administration different from the rest of Zambia.

Kapata had further explained that in fact, Barotseland had the best land policy in Zambia but when asked why the government has not adopted it, she appeared puzzled and claimed that the chiefs in the rest of Zambia cannot accept the Barotseland model of land administration.

Zambia currently has ten provinces, including the Western Province which falls under the contested Barotseland territory, and the latest ministerial response in parliament by the lands minister is yet another official government acknowledgement that in fact ‘Western Province’ is a part of Zambia on a different basis to the rest of the country - even under the current constitution which does not acknowledge the abrogated Barotseland Agreement 1964 that gave the Kingdom of Barotseland an autonomous status within the Republic of Zambia.

Meanwhile, Vice President Inonge Wina has accused opposition UPND parliamentarians complaining of lack of development in Southern, North Western and 'Western' provinces of trying to divide the country.

She was responding to Monze Central Parliamentarian and leader of the opposition Jack Mwiimbu who lamented about the bad state of main roads in Southern, 'Western' (Barotseland) and North Western provinces.

Some PF lawmakers claimed that the potholed Livingstone - Sesheke (Nakatindi) road was being rehabilitated when, in reality, they were merely patching the potholes with gravel.

Recently, The Mast Newspaper reported that a land policy validation meeting which was convened by the government to discuss the draft failed to take off at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka as chiefs from across Zambia walked out in protest and total rejection of the entire proposed land policy.

The chiefs said the draft land policy only pursued stealing of their land as it was not in the interest of Zambians “but a minority few corrupt elements”.

The chiefs’ walkout left lands minister Jean Kapata and her Chiefs and Traditional Affairs counterpart Lawrence Sichalwe stunned.

However, agreeing with the chiefs’ protest at the failed meeting, opposition United Progressive People (UPP) President Savior Chishimba said the effective abolishment of chiefdoms under the proposed sections 13 and 25 of the Urban and Regional Planning Act of 2015 was not only unbiblical but was also meant to concentrate all powers on land matters in the politicians.

He said the abolishment of customary land tenure system (Lands Act, Cap 184 (iv)) and the introduction of an open market system would only serve to cement the ongoing scramble for Zambia by the Chinese and other foreign nationals.

He further noted that the proposed land sales by the State for revenue generation would create landless poor Zambians who would be enslaved by foreign landlords.

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The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.