As a Youth Activist and resident of Chingola Township, I express my solidarity with the victims of recent incidents of demolition of over three hundred fifty (350) houses in Chingola District, particularly Kasompe ward.
On Saturday, 20th August, 2022 Chingola Municipal Council with the protection of State Police demolished houses said to have been built illegally on the Kasompe Airstrip, a property belonging to the Zambia Civil Aviation Authority(ZCAA).
On Wednesday Mr Chipoka Mulenga Minister of Commerce and Trade who is also Chingola Constituency Member of Parliament visited the affected families and bitterly complained about the demolition which he described as shocking. We find the claim by Hon Chipoka that the demolition of that magnitude was done without his knowledge. That being the case, then he is not fit to occupy political leadership.
It is unfortunate to learn that for some years now, millions of poor Zambian citizens have been resorting to illegal allocation of land perpetrated by some civic leaders who take advantage of people’s desperation to access land which points to lack of transparency in land acquisition by poor Zambians due to high prices coupled with poor policies. It is such hopelessness which engulfs poor people and trigger land illegality elsewhere.
It irks to see Mr Chipoka being hypocritical by claiming that he was not aware of the planned demolition of those houses in that area. His statement is nothing but ridicule to the victims and people of Chingola in general. My heart bleeds to see the MP being charlatan at the expense of lives of people as from the word go he was fully aware of the impending demolition exercise of those houses and that those people would be brutalised and left homeless, as several meetings were held until 19th August, 2022 when the last meeting was held. Mr. Chipoka’s alleged ignorance simply goes to show that his distance from the pain and welfare of the victims is so immense that even the crying and suffering of these people fail to touch him.
Our call on Member of Parliament Mr. Chipoka Mulenga, the entire civic leadership of Chingola, and the central government is to seek justice for the victims of the incident. Just giving them land is not enough when culprits who used state authority to take advantage of these people and swindle them out of millions of Kwacha by allocating illegal plots are free and sleeping in homes.
I challenge President Hakainde Hichilema and UPND government to make sure that justice prevails by punishing the wayward culprits who are said to be part of his administration and make sure that they are brought to book. And Chingola Municipal Council should be dissolved for having allowed the perpetrators to manipulate the residents and watched victims building structures without taking any action earlier. If the government fails to fulfil their tasks on this issue, they leave the people with no option but to speak out and condemn their incompetence.
Youth Activist/Development Studies University Student