Our land and the future of our children
by Harvard Chinyemba
Africa, and Zambia in particular, is endowed with plenty of land. But the sad thing is that we don't seem to value it very much. let me hasten to say hats off to nations that have put up laws that safeguard our land for the sake of our children, though others have done it in a wrong way.
Our people need to be taught over and over again the importance of owning land. If possible, let laws be passed to make it illegal for someone to sell a piece of land to a foreigner.
I was very happy when our President, Dr. Levy Mwanawasa said that it will be made illegal for our people to sell stands to foreigners at the newly built Soweto Market. You see, I am not trying to be hard on anybody. As a matter of fact, no nation can stand on its own,we are interdependent.
We need our brothers and sisters from other countries or other parts of the world to bring investment and expertise. They equally need us for our minerals and other natural resources.
I do not know about other countries, but there is one thing i have observed here in Zambia. Most of the shops that were owned by our people in strategic places have been SOLD (not rented) to foreigners.
The same applies to residential plot or places of residence. Whenever some guy shows up with a fat briefcase, we tend to melt and part away with our most treasured possession easily. One thing we must bear in mind is that, once a piece of land is sold, it is gone forever to the person you have sold it to. It will never come back to you.
So, what about our children and their children's children? Every place I have gone to is no
longer the same. People are busy erecting buildings. Where there was a small bush, houses have been built.
By the year 2050, it will be hard for one to find a residential plot in lusaka nearer to town. I believe we won't even reach 2050 because buildings are mushrooming at a faster rate. What sort of situation will our children find themselves in?
Already most of us live in rented houses. Even the few shops you find indegnous zambians proudly doing business from, are rented.
I don't know how true this is, but I have heard stories that when our brothers from Asia buy a shop, they would start negotiating with the neighbour so that he sells them the next shop, until eventually they buy the whole line of shops.
We can never blame them because they come for serious business. Let us blame ourselves for being selfish as to deny our children proper inheritance. Most of you would argue that it is poverty which cause people to do such things.
A plot or building is collateral enough for you to borrow money from a bank in order for you to do whatever you plan to do. Besides, most of these self labelled poor people are not actually poor.
If anyone still argues with me, let him/her tell me of one Zambian who does not have a place called village where he/she can go and teal the land, sow some maize, cotton, groundnuts etc, bring them to town and sell them to raise capital.
The problem is that we like fast things. Fast things make us to focus on today. Let us therefore wake up from our sleep. We should not be tricked into selling our land for a small sweet which is here today,the next minute it is gone.
God richly bless you.