PF councillor, others sue Kabwe council over land

LUANGWA PF ward councillor Bernard Chisanga and 26 others have sued Kabwe Municipal Council claiming that the purported re-entry of their 26 plots without following procedure is illegal, null and void.

According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court on Wednesday, Chisanga and 26 others indicated that they were successful applicants to commercial plots in Lukanga Township in Kabwe. The plaintiffs, who are represented by lawyer Tutwa Ngulube, are also claiming damages for unlawful occupation and development of the said plots.

They stated that Kabwe Municipal Council’s land agency was suspended by the Minister of Lands in June 2017 and appointed the provincial lands officer as administrator on behalf of the defendant. They stated that while the Municipal Council was an agent of the Ministry of Lands, the council in 2014 advertised commercial plots situated along the prime location of Great North road adjacent and opposite the new shopping Mall in Kabwe.

The plaintiffs submitted that they responded to the said adverts and that individually and severally applied for the said plots.

“The first defendants through their respective committee allocated the said plots to the successful applicants namely the plaintiffs inter alia paid the acceptance of offer charges and development charges and were allowed to start developing the plots. Without due regard to the procedures for repossession or adequate compensation, the defendants have started developing the plaintiffs plots,” read the claim in part.

They stated that inquiries into why the slabs and developments they had put had been erased using graders revealed that the municipal council had started developing the area into Transit bus Station. Chisanga and 26 others claimed that the land belonged to them and that until they are either compensated adequately or until they consent to the land being repossessed from them.

They added that the procedure for repossession has neither been done and that they have not been compensated for their land.

“The Town Clerk and the Mayor have of late been supervising graders clearing the said plots a function that falls squarely under the directorate of engineering and that the amount of interest generated by the two officers has caused anxiety among the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs shall aver that the first defendant has no authority to re-enter the said lands and that power vests in the commissioner of Lands,” they stated.

Chisanga and others further alleged that the Kabwe Municipal Council has borrowed heavily using the said land as collateral for what they are terming PPP project.

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