By LINDA SOKO TEMBO
A FAMILY in Lusaka West is on the verge of losing its farm on which it also built a primary school through a dubious scam, allegedly orchestrated by some government officials.
However, the Ministry of Lands claims the land was idle and therefore reposed.
According to the family, unknown people have invaded the farm and have demarcated plots on which some structures are nearing completion.
Despite being up to date with paying ground rates, the Commissioner of Lands has allegedly told them the Ministry of Lands does not know them but only recognised those who paid K20, 000 for the new plots.
Ministry of Lands Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Public Relations Diniwe Zulu said the ministry re-entered the farm in May 2011.
“This was because the property had deteriorated, which was a breach of the lease agreement. The property owner had further neglected to pay ground rent which stood at K254, 133.00 as at September, 2007.
“Hence, the farm was re-planned and allocated. During the reallocation the Kamanga family was given first priority and consideration and were allocated six out of the 21 plots that were created. The ministry has also left a portion for the community school which is run by the Kananga family,” Ms. Zulu said.
Ms Judith Kamanga, daughter of late Jairos Kamanga, who worked for a white man, Noel Foster, who owned farm number F/197/as/S from 1953 to 1976, yesterday said in 1976, Mr. Foster decided to go back to Britain and left his son in-law, Jeff McLean.
Ms Kamanga said it was unfortunate that the government which should have been looking after their interests, was in the forefront grabbing their heritage and wondered where the family was expected to go.
Ms. Kamanga said her father served under Mr. McLean until 1999 when criminals invaded the farm, tied her father, squeezed him into a sack, and threw him in the empty swimming pool before aiming at him but that bullets missed him.
Convinced that they had killed him, they headed to Mr. McLean’s house whom they robbed of all the money at gunpoint after tying him. Fearing for his life, Mr. McLean left the farm and relocated to Emmasdale where he stayed for a year without getting back to the farm, leaving her father without money or food.
She explained that her father then made a follow up and that in January 2000, Mr. McLean went to the farm and gave her father K125 for food.
“On December 4, 2000, Mr. McLean came back to the farm telling my father that he did not have any money to pay him his pension but that he was going to give him the farm as his terminal benefits. Mr. McLean wrote a letter to that effect and told my father to push for change of ownership of the farm to his name and Mr. McLean left the country for Mauritius.
“My father started paying ground rates to the Lusaka City Council from 2000 until his death in 2008 before he concluded the change of ownership but we continued paying ground rates. We have even paid for ground rates for 2020 without any problem at the council,” Ms. Kamanga said.
She explained that it was in 2017 when with her brother wrote to the Ministry of Lands to change property ownership that the confusion started.
“In 2017, my brother and I started pushing for the change of ownership to our names but the moment we wrote to the Ministry of Lands, that is when people started coming here claiming this is their land.” she asked.