An investigation into land conflicts in Kalomo district - Zambia: an analysis of the process of land acquisition.

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Muchimba, David
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The University of Zambia
The purpose of this study was to investigate land conflicts through the analysis of the process of land acquisition in Kalomo district and come up with possible recommendations that can help minimise conflicts at land acquisition stage. The qualitative data was collected from both land administrators and the ordinary people in Kalomo district. In- depth interviews and questionnaires were administered using purposive sampling techniques. This technique was suitable due to the fact that the study required specific characteristics of respondents like land administrators and people affected by or involved in land conflicts. Both groups gave their views on the process of land acquisition. The study was driven by the Neo-colonialism Theoretical framework whose major assumptions are that there is a continuation of domination by one country over another which makes a host country more economically dependent on the dominant country. However, neo- colonialism theory focuses on the domination and control of specific parts of land instead of an entire nation. It is not necessarily a relationship between two nations. Just like traditional colonialism, neocolonialism is about one actor dominating the other. This theory was ideal to explain conflicts in the land acquisition process in which government and private entities took possession of land and how the indigenous people were affected by this external influence. The major findings were that land administrators did not adhere to the existing guidelines of the Lands Act. The by- laws made by the district council were very exploitative for applicants who needed land. The involvement of officials from other government agencies did not only increase the expenses needed for land alienation process, but also their lack of expertise in land administration deteriorated the role of the land agencies. Further, some institutions such as the Zambia Railways interfered with the role of the district council by allocating land along the line of rail to its former workers and political party cadres by giving plots to their new party members on prohibited land. This resulted into many residents holding untitled land. Research findings also indicated that there was a lot still needed to be done, especially at the land acquisition stage, to minimise land conflicts. There was an urgent need to revisit the Lands Act to regulate behaviours of various people holding interest in land. Children, like any other beneficiary, need to be considered in the process of land allocation taking into account the childheaded households which have emerged in Zambia. The lands Act should be translated into seven local languages to ensure adequate public consumption. As a public document, the Lands Act must be simplified from its technical language to a more comprehensive law to cater for the interests of both the educated (trained) and the uneducated (untrained) citizens. An independent body should be established to preside over customary land issues as the Land Tribunal is more inclined to statutory law. All in all, the study is aimed at emancipating the lives of the people whose land rights are entangled in the selfish desires of the few dominant institutions and in Kalomo district. This emancipation is guaranteed through the excavation and making known of the irregularities existing within the process of land acquisition, which, in the long run, may have been considered a normal trend by the stakeholders.
Land acquisition. , Zambia--Maps.