Standing Committee wants Lands officials appear in person

Martin Endjala

A request by the Ministry of Agriculture. Water and Land Reform to have its hearing of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs conducted virtually did not work out and the hearing had to be postponed.

Chairperson of the committee Kletus Karondo has expressed disappointment over the delay in finalising the hearing initiated by as a result of a petition by the Hambukushu Traditional Authority, which calls for their livestock to be allowed into the Bwabwata National Park.

The petition submitted on 19 November 2021 to the National Assembly, calls for the Cabinet decision of 1999 be revisited that no cattle be allowed in the Bwabwata National Park or any other Game Park in the North-East of the country.

The Committee recently undertook a fact-finding visit to Bwabwata National Park where it met the
Hambukushu Traditional Authority, and the community of Mbukushu and Khwe people living in the Bwabwata as part of its oversight function. A report containing its findings, will be tabled in the National Assembly for further action at a later stage.

Karondo said that the public hearing of the parliamentary committee on constitutional and legal affairs with the MAWLR is very serious in finding solutions to the core issues.

Therefore, it is conducting its final consultation which is now being delayed by some MAWLR senior officials who could not be physically present at the public hearing except only through online.

“We expected the invited presenters to be hear in person, but they only indicated yesterday to the
secretariat that they are going to do virtual due to the technical glitches. The virtual presentation was continuously cutting, hence we arrived at the point that we cannot continue like this”, Karondo explained.

A decision was then arrived at cancel the meeting and reschedule the hearing with the MAWLR in the next day or after ten days or so.
The Hambukushu petition is also calling for re-demarcation of the certain portions of the Bwabwata
national park to cater for small farming units, as well as for the Hambukushu traditional authority to benefit from tourism activities in the national park, as well as benefitting from the harvesting of devils claw in the national park.

Officials from the MAWLR who were involved in the first public hearing of the Affirmative Reposition consultative engagements on a petition calling for foreign ownership was also prematurely cancelled by the Deputy Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Agnes Mpingana.

This was due to officials failing to extensively study the Affirmative Repositioning petition that calls on the regulation of land ownership by foreigners.

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