Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi on Wednesday disclosed that Government has line-up programs on public awareness on land bill.
The revelation comes after the misinformation and misinterpretation on the land bill which was tabled during the 46th sitting of Parliament.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lilongwe, the minister said the sensitization campaigns include meetings with all stakeholders including chiefs, to make sure that people understand what the customary land bill is all about.
“We are embarking on public awareness campaign to sensitize the public on what this bill is all about. It is a good bill as it is giving powers to the community in the village to manage land administration,” Muluzi said.
He further said the land bill had always been there and that the policy was formulated in 2002 and that nothing has changed since then.
“We are meeting chiefs in the Southern, Eastern, Central and Northern region to sensitize them on the land bill,” explained Muluzi.
He added that chiefs are the ones who knows people living in their areas hence it was wise for them to have powers on how they can manage that land administration.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu, concurred with Muluzi saying the land-related acts, prior to the recent enactment had been in the application close to twenty years, adding that the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Land Policy Reform was set-up in 1996.
“The mandate of the Presidential Commission was to undertake a broad review of land problems throughout Malawi and recommend the main principles of a new land policy that will foster a more economically efficient, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable land tenure system,” said Tembenu.
He explains that land administration responsibilities will be decentralized and district land registries established in each district to record all land transfers, conveyance and title registration, and to offer surveying and land management services.
“Land administration role and responsibilities of chiefs, clan leaders, headpersons and family heads will be formalized made more democratic and transparent.
“Government shall install special protection of land rights of minors and create a legal duty on Chiefs, Headpersons and adult members of a family to protect land rights of a surviving spouse and children in both matrilineal and patrilineal inheritance areas throughout Malawi,” said Tembenu.
He further advised people not to make public statement on matters that are potentially emotive such as land issues to avoid misleading the public.
On her part the Minister of Information, Communication, Technology and Civic Education, Patricia Kaliati said that government is not taking away powers from the Chiefs as some quarters are saying.
“The President through the Ministry of Lands has given the chiefs powers to run the Land administration themselves to avoid selling the land to foreigners and in the corrupt manner.
“My Ministry will embark on civic education on the customary land bill to make sure that the public understand it to the own good,” said Kaliati.