LAND disputes can be serious and such rows have sometimes turned ugly where lives have been lost.
The prudent way to curb land wrangles or any other dispute is as they say ‘nipping the trouble in the bud’, but in a case where you are dealing with prolonged cases, dialogue is the recourse.
Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Harry Kalaba deserves praise for resolving a 15-year-old land dispute between hundreds of Rufunsa District villagers and Sable Transport Limited.
For a decade and half, villagers in Rufunsa lived in fear not knowing what was to become of spaces they called home.
Mr Kalaba’s intervention followed complaints by Rufunsa Member of Parliament Kenneth Chipungu, headwoman Kanyetu, headman Mweshang’ombe and headman Shimaluba, among others, that Sable Transport Limited was threatening to displace their subjects.
They accused Sable Transport Limited and workers under its Bio-Carbon project of threatening to chase villagers found in areas it was conducting its business after February 3, 2014.
Then, Mr Kalaba was on hand, not only issuing instructions from a distance, but went on the ground to verify and have a feel of the magnitude of the problem.
Land matters have become sensitive at the realisation of the value of it making the whole matter delicate each time one party felt threatened.
In other countries, owning a piece of land guarantees one wealth and dignity.
No wonder Mr Kalaba did not only end at resolving the dispute, but went ahead counseling those who own land never to gamble for a song.
He pleaded with people occupying customary land to guard it jealously and not to be hoodwinked by investors offering foodstuffs and bicycles in exchange for huge tracts of land as doing so would cause them, their children and grandchildren to suffer in future.
Mr Kalaba said it was because of such land conflicts that he recently banned the sale of customary land and Government was in the process of issuing title deeds to people in such areas.
And what an amicable way of concluding the matter with Sable Transport Limited managing director Alloo Iqbal promising to rectify the problem and protect villagers. COMMENT