The Zambian land tenure system and the process of land alienation: The need for land reform in Zambia

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M'Membe, Fred
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Zambia has abundant land resources. Most of this land is very fertile and suitable for agriculture. But millions of people in Zambia have no access to land. Access to land is still one of Zambia's major nightmares. However, unlike other countries, this is not due to the shortage of land. There is plenty of land in Zambia to satisfy the needs of everyone. The shortage is due to the inefficient methods of land ownership, its management and utilisation - it is difficult for the majority of people to secure land.Consequently, there are hundreds of thousands of people with no access to that land. Their rights to land are more often insecure. And legal and economic insecurity creates a credibility gap in relation to the rights of the holder. Many people just 'sit' on their land without using it or using it efficiently and productively because they lack everything that is necessary for this. Due to the unfavourable economic environment in the country, even people with access to land are having to go hungry. This is the case in most rural areas. Although they may have access to land, most people lack the means for developing it. It is very difficult for people to access the technical know-how and the resources necessary to ensure rounded development of their land without the support of government.Zambia, with 752,000 square kilometres, has abundant land for her population of roughly eleven million people. However, many Zambians do not have land of their own. The majority of the people in Zambia are merely squatters on the land they hold which hinders them from developing that land fully. One of the main reasons behind this is the country's land tenure system and the system of administration. Land is obtained through a certain framework called land law and policy. Sometimes, a country's land and policy can facilitate the acquisition of land by individuals. At other times, this is one of the obstacles which hinders access to land and therefore to development.This research attempts to find out why Zambia has not completely modernised its land law and policy and how it is partly governed by customary law and-' partly by modern law. And also find out how this mixture has not always been smooth and why there have been tensions between the two systems, sometimes developing into full-blown controversies. This study reviews and examines the literature on land, the lands Act of 1995 and related legislation to identify the extent to which they protect or abrogate the rights of the poor and marginalised. It also reviews and examines the extent to which, the "duality" of the system negates or promotes the rights to security of tenure of poor people and recommends the necessary reforms that would promote an efficient, effective and desirable land alienation system. This is necessary because "land administration systems are not static; they are responsive to changes in society. They are modified, redefined or restructured in response to many factors such as population growth and density, conflict of interest or changes in the political and economic organisation of society". This may also help to incite debate for a major land reform to look at every aspect of our land tenure system, and with everyone on board, so that a law that can steer the country forward begins to germinate. In this way Zambia can begin to address the problems associated with the land delivery system in the country in order to ensure equitable access to resources and promote national development. Land law reform in Zambia is an urgent necessity.
Land tenure--Law and Legislation--Zambia , Land reform