Every Zambian should own land – Kalaba
By Staff Reporter
Democratic Party presidential candidate for 2021 Harry Kalaba says all Zambians should own land.
Speaking when he appeared on Burning Issue programme on 5 FM radio, Kalaba said once elected into office, he would empower each Zambian with a piece of land as the mass area was enough to do so.
He said it was unacceptable that out of about 20 million people in Zambia only 200,000 people had titles to land.
“Zambia is 752,000 square kilometres, Israel is 19,000 square kilometres. Right now in Zambia we have not even accounted for every piece of land that is here. We don’t know whose sitting on what land, we are just speculating,” he said before being reminded of the current land audit that has been conducted.
Kalaba said the audit should be conclusive so that citizens should start benefiting.
“When you talk about land audit you should also talk about land banking, because today we have people that have been buying land and just keeping it then reselling it. Today we have people who are coming outside this country who are selling land to indigenous Zambians, that is an abomination I will never allow that as president,” he said.
Kalaba who also served as Minister of Lands in the PF government said he would not allow this because in countries like Botswana, a foreigner would never be allowed to buy land but merely facilitated to lease it for five or ten years.
“But here everyone can get Land and Zambians go and queue up for that same land. They buy huge chunks of land and begin sub dividing it. And they start asking you to pay huge sums of money for your own land which you could have gotten freely by virtue of you, having been born in Zambia. You are supposed to have land as a Zambian,” adding that “when I come to power I will ensure that as the youths are getting their NRCs it will be married with the Ministry of Lands to issue them with land title,” Kalaba said.
He said it was important for citizens to have title deeds as it was the only way that wealth was passed on.
“We want to break down politics to development not just politics of yapping. We want to empower women with title deeds so that they can go to the bank and present their projects. We will ensure that the ‘women’s bank’ conducts a survey of the proposed area and have some expert to help them develop a project proposal. That’s how it’s done”.
Kalaba said currently the banks required applicants to draw up proposals when most vulnerable people were incapable of producing the document.
He said in his position as foreign affairs minister, he was privileged to travel around the globe and witnessed how other countries in more difficult situations had made the difference.
“I want to talk about Rwanda. I’ve been to Sweden but if I talk about it you will think I am aloof. I am talking about Rwanda because it is an African country that has come from the genocide. In 1994 two million Rwandese died in that genocide but they have moved from this. Rwanda has manged to move out of the genocide, today Kigali remains the cleanest city in Africa. Rwanda has managed to apportion its 27,000 square kilometres of land to empowering its citizens,” he said.
Kalaba stressed that all Zambians should be empowered with land regardless of their political affiliation because it was their birth right.
“When I was Lands Minister I gave land to opposition political leaders. I gave land to some members of parliament and told them ‘you are political leaders you have applied, here you are. Someone went to report me that Kalaba has given land to UPND MPs I think he is supporting UPND. So, president Sata called me and asked ‘I hear you are giving land to the opposition. I said ‘no sir I can’t remember’ so he brought out a list which showed that I had given about 20 UPND members, then I answered and said ‘ah! You mean Zambians? To me these are Zambians’, that’s when president Sata said ‘get out of my office’ because he understood my logic being a patriot himself,” Kalaba narrated.
He said this should be the approach in Zambia, where citizens can go into any government office and compete for any tender or privilege.