The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has organised an all-inclusive national conference on land laws scheduled for this Thursday at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe.
The conference comes after criticism on how Parliament passed four Land-related Bills which President Peter Mutharika later assented to in September this year before debate on the proposed laws among different stakeholders was completed.
PAC spokesperson Father Peter Mulomole yesterday welcomed the ministry’s move, saying it will provide the necessary platform on the bills.
“The ministry wants to explain to us what exactly has happened and also what the enactment of these laws means. On our part, we do not see anything wrong with that as there is a need to listen to the arguments they are putting forward and also the arguments the other parties are putting forward and then try to find out whether, for instance, as PAC, there are suggestions that we can put forward,” he said.
Prior to the conference, the ministry is scheduled to hold a sensitisation and implementation conference with the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust today and a national media workshop on land laws tomorrow.
According to a statement published in the local media yesterday, representatives of civil society organisations, the faith community, traditional groups, relevant Parliamentary committees, the academia, the private sector, relevant government departments and development partners, among others, will attend the meetings.
Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development spokesperson Charles Vintulla said the meetings are meant to sensitise stakeholders to the six more Land-related Bills that will be tabled in Parliament during the next sitting of Parliament.
“It is not all the laws that were passed in September. Parliament only passed four bills and the President only assented to those four and we are still remaining with six more Land-related Bills that will be tabled in Parliament during the next sitting.
“The four laws that were already assented to cannot work on their own without these other six that are yet to be tabled. They are related. So, we want the stakeholders and all the players in land matters to be aware of those other Bills and the proposals in those Bills before they go to Parliament,” he said.
The four Land-related Bills which the President assented to include the Customary Land Bill, the Principal Land Bill, the Land Survey Bill and the Physical Planning Bill.
Government says the land Bills are a hallmark of decentralisation as they reduce government interference in land matters since the Bills transfer powers to administer and manage land to chiefs. n