Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has advised the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) to resist divisive practices.
TIZ also demanded that Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Elijah Muchima, retract the statement attributed to him on land administration.
In the statement, Muchima pledged preferential treatment for poor members of the UPND during land allocation, citing their alleged marginalization under the previous Patriotic Front (PF) administration.
Organisation Executive Director, Maurice Nyambe, stated that Muchima should publicly commit to supporting a land allocation system that would not promote divisive tendencies along partisan lines.
“The Minister should commit to upholding the principles of impartiality and equal opportunity in the allocation of this vital resource,” he advised.
Nyambe reminded the UPND administration that what was wrong under the previous administration was still wrong now.
He said there was no justification for continuing whatever anomalies were taking place, since two wrongs do not make a right.
Nyambe acknowledged the pertinent issue of marginalization affecting economically disadvantaged individuals in the allocation of land.
“However, it is vital to highlight that the Minister’s articulated statement fails to align with established principles governing judicious land administration,” Nyambe stated.
He noted that the 2021 land policy outlines avenues for citizens to secure land through direct applications to the Commissioner of Lands or local authorities, while customary land acquisition involves engagement with traditional authorities.
Nyambe emphasized that an overarching tenet of land administration, expounded by the policy, was equity, ensuring that individuals of all backgrounds had equal opportunities to access land.
“It is crucial to emphasize that historical marginalization under a previous administration cannot serve as a justifiable foundation for land allocation decisions,” he said.
Nyambe stated that this divisive move of allocating land based on partisan affiliations represents a concerning deviation from sound land administration principles.
He added that government’s commitment should therefore be directed towards facilitating land acquisition without discrimination, fostering an environment conducive to dignified livelihoods and socio-economic development for all citizens.
“TI-Z strongly condemns the aforementioned statement, and we urge the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to adhere rigorously to established procedures for land allocation that ensure equitable access for all citizens,” Nyambe said.
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