Institutional Harmonization of land administration in Zambia: A legal Study

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Mtonga, Standwell Jeremiah
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Land is an important asset in all aspects of development initiative of any nation, be it agricultural or industrial. Whether or not a nation will achieve its development plans especially where agricultural development is concerned, will depend on the effectiveness of its land policies, and ultimately its land tenure system. The land tenure will normally reflect the process concerning land acquisition, land control and administration.Zambia's land policy is such that there are various categories of land and this is a result of the colonial legacy, whereby some land was reserved for white settlers and the other was set aside for natives. These categories still exist even today and thus there is State Land, formerly Crown Land and Reserves Land Trust Land (sometimes referred to as Traditional Land). The lend tenure in these categories of land differ from one another. Tenure in State Land is governed by legislation and common law whilst that in Reserves and Trust Lands though not specifically provided for in any statute is basically held under customary law,A characteristic feature in all these categories of land, however, is the several land administration authorities involved in the process of land acquisition and land control. These include inter alia traditional Chiefs, Councils end Ministries of Lands and Local Government.But in customary land, there is only one form of control and land administration, that is, custom. However, the very factor of having such several institutions has its own contribution to the lack of land development in the country.For instance, only a few people have access to good land for development as the procedures are too eleborate end expensive involving moving from one place to another and dealing with so many different bodies,A number of good investors are discouraged by the requirements of tradition and custom from settling in developing land in Reserves and Trust Lands more so if they have no ethnic ties within the areas. Further, the duties and powers of the various institutions are not really clearly stated, resulting in the bodies performing almost the same functions. Would-be settlers are, therefore, forced to visit several institutions which perform almost the same duties and eventually making the whole procedure lengthy and cumbersome. The overlap in the roles the several institutions play is not only in land acquisition but also in land control vis-a-vis enforcement of developmental covenants pertaining to lend. The non-harmonization of the Institutions and their lack of decentralisation has resulted in the non-enforcement of the covenants, with some of the bodies not even being aware of their roles in land inspection. It is axiomatic that problems such as those outlined are due to the existence of such several Institutions involved in land acquisition and land control. Further it is due to the non-harmonization of the Institutions so that as few bodies as possible perform the functions currently being undertaken by so many bodies. This will not only enhance their effectiveness and competence but will reduce the complications in procedure investors and settlers currently go through in acquiring land. In the long run land development especially agricultural development will be encouraged and ultimately boosted.
Land Administration-Zambia , Land Use-Developing Countries , Land Tenure-Zambia