High Court settles Kabangwe land dispute

LUSAKA High Court judge Mwamba Chanda has declared Frederick Sumaili as the rightful and legal owner of Farm number 28136/M in Kabangwe area in Chibombo district.

And the court has also granted Sumaili an order to demolish all illegal structures that have been erected on his property.

In this matter, Sumaili on January 8, 2015 sued Mary Musowoya and other unknown squatters on his farm and was seeking an order of interim injunction restraining them and their servants and agents from trespassing, interfering, demarcating, selling and carrying out any further construction works on the property.

He also sought an order declaring him the rightful and legal owner of the farm.

But Mary filed a defence and counterclaim, stating that she inherited the farm from her late husband Herbert Musowoya.

She explained that the farm initially belonged to Sumaili’s grandfather.

Mary stated that when the grandfather died, he was survived by two children, Cement Mhango, the plaintiff’s grandfather and a daughter, Doris Mhango.

Mary stated that when Sumaili’s grandfather abandoned the farm and went to Malawi, it was managed by Doris and the plaintiff’s mother, who was living in Chawama.

She stated that after Doris died, it was inherited by her husband, Herbert, adding that she was the surviving widow and she inherited it.

Mary stated that she was the absolute owner and not a caretaker of the farm as Sumaili claimed.

She added that having inherited the farm from her husband, she was the legal owner and had suffered loss and damage due to Sumaili’s unlawfully acquiring title to the land.

However, Sumaili stated how Mary’s husband and a Mr Mhamba were invited to the farm as caretakers and that the two later differed and the latter was chased.

He stated that after chasing Mhamba, Musowoya invited his family to live with him.

Sumaili stated that he sold a portion of the farm and that Musowoya and his wife signed as witnesses.

He stated that he was taken aback that Mary could turn around and claim ownership to the land.

Sumaili stated that after complying with the necessary requirements, he was issued with title in 2013.
He stated that Mary continued occupying the land after her husband died in 2013 but that he later discovered that she started demarcating and assigning pieces of land to other people without his permission and the assignees started erecting structures.

Sumaili stated that when he approached Mary, she violently chased him from the farm.

In her judgmemt, judge Chanda said Sumaili’s certificate of title issued in 2013 was conclusive proof that the farm belonged to him and no impropriety had been established in its acquisition.

“I also find that the first defendant’s (Mary) claim that the plaintiff’s piece of land has another property number F/25814 Chibombo to be baseless as no survey diagrams have been produced to support the assertion, ” she said.

On Mary’s counterclaim, judge Chanda said there was no proof that she was given a letter of approval by chieftainess Mungule to apply for ownership of the land to the Ministry of Land.

Judge Chanda then declared Sumaili as rightful and legal owner to the farm and ordered that all the illegal squatters be restrained from interfering with the land.

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