The government has halted plans by the Lusaka City Council to demolish all structures in Forest 27, to allow for a fact-finding report to be released.
Lands Minister Elijah Muchima said yesterday, “We are not going to demolish any structure before the report that will inform us what exactly happened is released.”
Mr Muchima said that government would decide the course of action to take on people who had built in the forest reserve after reviewing the report.
Uncertainty has gripped most former ministers, who include Michael Katambo, Chitalu Chilufya, Davies Chama, Sydney Mushanga and Edify Hamukale, who reportedly built on the land reserve after Lusaka City Council indicated that it would carry out demolitions
Former Chiefs and Traditional Affairs minister Lawrence Sichalwe who is one of the victims said he was distraught by the revelation because that was where his life’s investments were channeled to build his retirement house.
But Mr Muchima said that people needed to be patient because Government wanted to follow the correct procedures and would not be in a hurry to carry out the demolitions.
He said that he could not give a time frame on when action would be taken because he did not want government to victimise innocent people.
Mr Muchima expressed disappointment that some people had ignored the decree that had been given by the government to stop building on the property.
He said that the previous regime exploited the people as they distributed land among themselves and that was what they wanted to rectify.
“If you do an audit most of these forests that have been degazetted who are the recipients? They were championing their own interests,” he said.
Mr Muchima said he did not want to pre-empt issues because the government was doing a lot of things on the ground to rectify the problem.