… Even graveyards have been sold
By AARON CHIYANZO
TWO traditional leaders in Muchinga Province have been accused of illegally selling land, including two graveyards in a neighboring chiefdom to foreigners for mining activities.
Newly installed ruler Chief Mando has complained that his chiefdom has lost huge tracks of land through illegal and dubious sales by some of this neighbouring chiefs.
He has demanded that government intervenes to correct the situation.
Chief Mando said the deal took place after Chief Mwenge Mando of the Bisa people died in September last year.
The new Chief Mando said in an interview yesterday that the two named chiefs, working together with some headmen, allegedly took advantage of the passing on of their colleague by selling land which was not under their jurisdiction.
Chief Mando said that some villagers had been displaced from their rightful settlements by the people who bought the land from the two chiefs.
He lamented that even the cassava that was in the fields where the land was illegally bought was uprooted without compensation.
He only learnt that part of the land of his chiefdom including graveyards had been sold after his installation and that he had been trying to engage the said chiefs but they had been uncooperative.
He revealed that his messengers were sent away when he sent them to deliver a complaint letter at the palace of one of the chiefs, prompting him to take the same letter to the Office of the President in Kasama.
“On the installation day, I was told and people are still coming to my palace complaining that their land had been sold. The land in question was sold illegally by two of our neighbouring chiefs.
“I have not yet confronted them but when I sent my two messengers to deliver my letter, one of the chiefs refused to accept my letter and chased my men away,” he said.
And Santos Chibulungu, one of the displaced villagers, said that grazing land for his animals was confiscated by the same chiefs and sold to foreign nationals who wanted to do some mining activities on the land.
Mr Chibulungu demanded for compensation because his animals now had nowhere to graze.
He said that most of the forests in chiefdom were being cut down indiscriminately with the permission of the chief by some foreign nationals who were working with some corrupt headmen.