Parliamentary Committee member for Lands, Hon Philip Tondoneh of SLPP has stated that leasing of lands for a period of 99yrs was a bad policy.
The MP was speaking yesterday on the challenges of land reforms in the country at an information sharing session organized by the National Democratic Institute for the Press Gallery in Parliament where he said leasing lands for a period of 99yrs was not only a bad policy but will bring in lethargy in terms of implementation whilst promising that any bill taken to Parliament on that issue will be voted against.
The MP preferred less than 40yrs lease agreement which he argued will spur speedy development and hard work on the part of the company.
He explained that what happens in some land agreements in the provinces was that it was only done between the Chiefs and the purchaser leaving out the ordinary people who will become victims at the end.
Hon Tondoneh explained the challenges on Land reforms as poor reporting on land reform, political indifference, poverty and community property rights and accusing Paramount Chiefs turning to owners of lands rather than being custodians of the land.
Mentioning NDMC, the MP said that the company had leased the land for 99yrs and when they were liquidated, – the land which was previously owned by some families were not returned to them, rather the Chiefs took the lands stressing it was community lands.
He also made reference to the constitution which he says states that lands were not to be sold in the provinces but leased, an act which he pointed out is being violated.
Another committee member, Hon Claude Kamanda of APC also spoke about land reform saying it was a challenge in the country as the system of land laws and its administration have collapsed.
He commented that there were no complete strategy or specific law on land for certain purposes like in Kono, where mining is done everywhere.
Hon Kamanda again said provisions to land and security were out dated and a cumbersome process to register ones bought land.
He said the land reforms were inconsistent as there are problems of multiple land sale, injustice, increased fraud and malpractice in the lands ministry, lack of training for lands officials, improper documentation and the delay to divulge to the local councils. By Ishmael Bayoh