A critical discussion and analysis of the relevancy,if any ,of the lands acquisition acquisition act,1970 and the lands act,1995 in Zambia's libearalised market economy

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Gwaba, Jones J.
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This essay attempts to answer the question whether or not the Lands Acquisition Act of 1970 and the Lands Act of 1995 are necessary pieces of legislation in Zambia's liberalized market economy. This comes in the light of the fact that whereas the Lands Act, 1995 seeks to promote investment, both local and foreign, in agriculture, the Lands Acquisition Act, 1970 permits the President to compulsorily acquire land if, in his opinion and in the interests of the Republic, he deems it necessary so to do.At the time of Zambia's independence in 1964, the country inherited different laws in relation to the system of land tenure. The land tenure system in Crown lands, making up 6% of the territory, was governed by English Law while in the Reserves and Native Trust Lands it was governed by customary law. At independence the Crown Lands were re-named State Lands, with English Law continuing to be applied. This duality of laws applicable to these land tenure systems has continued to exist to this very day. The Reserves and the Trust Lands have since been re-named customary areas. Following government's inability to acquire vacant and undeveloped land owned by 'absentee landlords', the Lands Acquisition Act was promulgated in 1970. This was followed five years later by the enactment of the Lands (Conversion of Titles) Act of 1975 which abolished freehold tenure and converted it into leasehold tenure. This statute did not allow any transactions in land without the consent of the President, all Zambian land having been vested in the holder of that office for and on behalf of the people of Zambia. This piece of legislation was very much in tune with the One Party State socialist learnings of the Administration of then President Kenneth David Kaunda. In 1991, the Kaunda Administration lost the Presidential and Parliamentary elections to the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) led by Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba - a party with very strong capitalist leanings. With the inherited socialist economy in ruins, the Chiluba Administration abandoned the Kaunda Administration's economic policies wholesale. One of the casualties of this change in policy was the Land in (Conversion of Titles) Act of 1975 following the enactment of the Lands Act, 1995. While the Lands Act, 1995 sought to protect the interests of landholders in customary areas, it at the same time permitted the conversion of customary tenure into leasehold tenure. The argument was that land under customary tenure could only be used as collateral for credit if the holder had title to it. These policy changes, which appear to have been induced by international financial lending institutions and donors, have brought about their own problems such as erosion of the authority of traditional rulers, prospects of marginalization and over-population in the remainder of customary areas and land speculation. In this scenario of land shrinkage, will the State eventually invoke the provisions of the Lands Acquisition Act and re-acquire land from, investors? or will it allow insidious landlessness to continue under the present form of the Lands Act, 1995? Possible courses of action are, therefore, being offered by way of recommendations. This essay comprises five chapters. The first chapter is an introductory one, identifying the problem under investigation and the method of research. The second chapter focuses on the land tenure system in pre-colonial Zambia, the third in colonial Zambia and the fourth in post-colonial Zambia. With each epoch, the country's land tenure system has undergone some changes which help understand the current land law and policy in Zambia. Chapter five argues in favour of the retention of the Lands Acquisition Act of 1970 while chapter six argues against the retention, in its present form, of the Lands Act of 1995. Chapter seven carries our conclusions and recommendations namely, that the Lands Acquisition Act of 1970 is more relevant to Zambia now than before the enactment of the Lands Act, 1995; and the Lands Act, 1995 itself should be comprehensively reviewed in order to stem land speculation and insidious landlessness, particularly in relation to the poverty stricken dwellers in customary areas.
Land tenure --Law and legislation--Zambia