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OFFICERS at the Ministry of Lands should explain to Zambians the procedure that was used to degazette land to people in Forest Reserve 27, the New Congress Party (NCP) has demanded.

NCP President, Peter Chanda, said the Commissioner of Lands should tell the Zambians the criteria used to demarcate the forest and which law was used to arrive at the decision.

Mr Chanda stated in an interview that land allocation in the country has always been subjected to serious scrutiny and certain areas such as forests are demarcated with the concert of policy makers.

“We need to get to the root of the matter, where it began from, we need to look at the policy that was used by the Commissioner of Lands to allocate plots in the forest. How was the place degazetted, was it as Act that was involved?

“We need to look at all these things before we start pointing figures at the people that got land from there,” he said.

He however cautioned the government against being selective in investigating the matter because it is alleged that some UPND members were among the people who got land in Forest 27.

Mr. Chanda said corruption was a cancer that must be fought at all levels, hence there should be no sacred cows as the government fights graft.

He said government should not be seen to tailor the fight against corruption to Patriotic Front (PF) members or those aligned to the former ruling party.

Mr Chanda said corruption fight should be extended to all those that might have been involved including politicians from other political parties.

“The fight against corruption should be compulsory to all wrongdoers whether UPND members or members of other political parties as long as they have been involved in an illegality,” he said.

Minister of Lands and Natural Resource, Elijah Muchima, said consultations were underway to investigate how the degazetting of forest 27 and other forests were done to ensure that the law was followed.


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