Illegal land grabbers

Illegal land grabbers
THE Patriotic Front ought to be commended for arresting eight people in Lusaka who were masquerading as its members and seizing plots from their legal owners and re-allocating them to other people.
Political cadres have through the years been notorious for giving themselves powers to seize, sell and allocate land with impunity.
They have been doing this under the notion that they belonged to the ruling party at the time.
This is a culture that we cannot allow to continue, where social misfits want to disturb law-abiding citizens by harassing them over their land.
Sadly, this lawlessness has continued, creating an impression that the “cadres” could not be touched as they belonged to the party in government.
Yesterday, the criminal activities of eight “cadres” were brought to an abrupt end as the PF in Lusaka caught eight conmen whom they handed over to police for grabbing land in Kamwala South.
They had been grabbing land from unsuspecting owners using the name of the ruling party.
The eight, all from Garden House, have been terrorising people whose pieces of land were seized by force and illegally reallocated to other would-be developers by intimidating the original owners.
Lusaka Province PF secretary Kennedy Kamba, who was among the officials who nabbed the eight from plots behind ZIPAS, said the party was taken aback over the illegalities the criminals were involved in under the guise of being PF members.
That the gang of eight had the audacity to harass people in an area like Kamwala South is quite baffling because this practice has been rife on the outskirts of Lusaka, especially in farming areas.
That is where people with valid papers have been fighting a losing battle with purported political cadres who have demarcated parts of their farms and sold them to gullible residents.
According to Mr. Kamba, the people who have been terrorising land owners in Kamwala South were neither party members nor resided in the area. He said the party was compelled to waylay them and hand them over to the police because it did not condone any form of illegality.
Moreover, this only goes to show that the illegality is deep rooted, and has been going on for a long time.
But even as the eight have been apprehended, the so-called legal owners must be taken to task for keeping quiet while criminal elements were grabbling their plots.
Kamwala Ward 5 councillor, Moses Bwalya said the eight had even dug foundations on some of the plots they had grabbed from the rightful owners.
“I was alerted to these criminal activities and mobilised members of the community and party officials and that is how we ambushed them. They lied that they are party officials from Garden House but when we called the leadership there, they don’t even know them,” said Mr Bwalya.
We hope the quick action taken by the PF officials in Kamwala South could be replicated in other areas like Garden House.
The PF must send a clear message that it would not entertain any of its members who would engage in criminal activities and expect to receive a “pat on the back” over illegal land seizures.
As Mr Kamba warned, the eight must never be mistaken for PF cadres but criminals who were masquerading as party cadres to commit crimes against innocent Zambians.
Mr Kamba warned that those who were in the habit of using the ruling party to commit crimes would soon be cornered.
Yes, the PF must show that it is a party that is anchored on law and order that respects the rights of citizens to own property, and land for that matter and not be harassed for doing so.
Those that do not want to follow the law, whether PF or not, must be quickly rounded up and handed over to the police so that they could be made to pay for their criminal activities.

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