A tug of war has erupted in Solwezi where some traditional leaders are allegedly blocking the Solwezi Municipal Council from proceeding with its plan to upgrade some settlements believed to have been under customary land.
It is being alleged that some traditional leaders are holding on to land in Muzabula, Kazhiba and Humphrey Mulemba, a situation that has put the local authority in limbo as far as the upgrading process is concerned.
The three areas are just a stone-throw from the Central Business District but appear to be shanty compounds due to population growth that has not spared the mining town in North Western Province.
This status quo has left Solwezi Mayor Nicolas Mukumbi in a dilemma on how to proceed with the upgrading process.
He has expressed sadness with the land wrangles between the Council and the traditional leaders.
Mukumbi, who spoke on the sidelines of the Ordinary Council meeting, expressed shock that some residents in the communities are being denied the much needed development because the leaders in the three areas appear to be adamant on the Council’s plans.
He said the Council remained committed towards upgrading and providing better services in the three settlements but all the plans are being hampered by the traditional leaders’ refusal to free the land.
Mukumbi stated that the previous Chief Kapijimpanga, now deceased, had released the pieces of land to the Council which is even documented but has faced hurdles with some headmen and sub chiefs.
He has now sought audience with Chief Kapijimpanga of the Kaonde speaking people in Solwezi to engage the other traditional leaders in the three settlements before the council can proceed with its plans.