The Post | 17 August 2011
By Ernest Chanda
ABOUT nine thousand people who will be evicted from the Nansanga Farm Bloc in chief Muchinda’s area in Serenje district face destitution because the government has not offered them alternative land.
The area was subdivided by the government early last year but an alternative settlement for the 9, 000 affected Zambian settlers is yet to be found.
Group spokesperson Dickson Chibuye, who was flanked by late chief Muchinda’s grandson John Chibale, complained about the government’s inability to find them alternative land.
Chibuye, who constantly referred to himself as Umulala nkonko a real Lala, said it was wrong for the government to sell the people’s land without first consulting them.
He said it was inhuman for the government to displace 9,000 people and throw them in the cold.
“We have some of our parents who are 70 years old; they were born in this land and grew up here. Others are 60 years old, and others are in the fifties. Now, you can imagine a situation where all these people have lived here for many years; and without any notice from the government we just find that this land has been sold as part of the Nansanga Farm
Block,” said Chibuye in an interview.
“All we see are advertisements in the newspapers that the buyers of this land have been given offer letters, meaning that we have to vacate this land. So, where shall we go all of us? We are talking about a population of over 9,000 people, not animals. We have children, the aged and we also have pregnant mothers; so where shall all these go now?”
Chibuye complained that even their former member of parliament Ackimson Banda had not discussed the issue with the affected people.
“We gave him the position of member of parliament and through the President we made him deputy minister for Central Province but he abandoned us. We are not playing politics, but please tell them that we don’t want MMD here. This is a land where we have caterpillars as our main source of livelihood. And if they remove us from here, where shall we start from?” he asked.
He said people travel distances of about 36 kilometres to access medical services from the only clinic available. Chibuye said the community had no ill feelings against the people who had been offered the land, but the government.
And Chibale vowed to uproot MMD from the area because it had betrayed them. “You cannot have a government that wants to send its own people in exile. They are talking about development which we can’t see here. We just have one old clinic in our chiefdom left by first Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda. And travel for about 86 kilometres to get to this clinic. Mapepala Primary School has two teachers; even Bowa Primary School has got two teachers. So what development has this government been talking about? As far as we are concerned, there is no MMD in this area."