President Peter Mutharika has assented to the controversial Land Bills which opposition members of Parliament (MPs) described as a sure way of stripping chiefs of their rights over land.
The Bills include Land Bill, Land Survey Bill, Physical Planning Bill and Customary Land Bill. This means there are six more remaining land-related bills, including the Land Registry Bill waiting for Parliament’s scrutiny.
In an interview yesterday, Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya confirmed the development, but could not shed further details.
“Yes, the President has assented to the Bills, but [talk] to technical people if you need further details,” he said.
In a separate interview, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi said: “Oh! Really? This is a good milestone achievement and development for all Malawians. However, allow me to wait for communication from Parliament as they are the ones who are mandated to inform the Executive of such developments.”
During the last Parliament meeting, leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera and members of other opposition parties walked out of the House in protest against the tabling of the Bills.
Since Parliament discussed and passed the Bills, there have been mixed reactions, with some traditional leaders and some civil society organisations (CSOs) opposing government’s handling of the matter and calling on Mutharika not to assent to the Bills.
This forced government through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to embark on a nationwide campaign to garner support for the enactment of the Bills into law.