Land Policy


Land in Zambia, like in many countries in Africa and globally, is the basis for all forms of social and economic development. It is the source of prestige, identity and a means to livelihoods especially for poor community members that live in rural and peri-urban areas. Because of this significance and value attached to land, it has become the source of conflict in many countries around the world. In most cases, the poor and vulnerable groups are usually affected by such disputes.   This in turn results into displacements from their land with little or no compensation at all thereby worsening their poverty levels.

It is against this background that the land resource needs to be properly managed so as to ensure equal and sustainable benefits by all from its investment. The Land policy is intended to provide guidance and direction in the manner land is accessed, controlled, used and conserved for both customary and statutory tenure. It will also seek to harmonize the various pieces of legislation that do not speak to each other in terms of land administration and management. . In this context, it is important that the land policy formulation process is guided by the views and aspirations of the people as land is their life and resource for sustainable livelihoods.

Why a land policy?

A policy is defined by some as a CLEAR statement on how an institution or government intends to provide services or conduct specified actions. Others state that a policy is a plan or course of action that a government intends to undertake for various sectors such as education, health and natural resources among others. A land policy therefore would simply be defined as guidelines or rules that will state how land will be administered in the country.

Zambia has had a series of draft land policies that have undergone revisions for over a decade now. The significance of a land policy to govern land administration in Zambia cannot be overemphasized. It is imperative as various pieces of legislation have not been effective in addressing the many land challenges being experienced in the country. The land policy is expected to strengthen land rights especially of poor and vulnerable communities,, enhance productivity and improve their livelihoods. The land policy development process should be treated as a pre-requisite for social and economic development of society and should ensure the following

  1. Inclusive, full and informed participation of all stakeholders including women who are the majority users of land,
  2. Ensure national ownership in the land policy formulation process so as to enable smooth and easy implementation of the land policy document especially at the grassroots,
  3. Identify and agree on critical land questions and challenges that need to be addressed by the land policy;
  4. Recognise the roles of local and community-based land administration structures alongside those of the state and how these can best collaborate.

The Zambian government with support of the Land Policy Initiative (LPI), begun the process of strategizing the process of reviewing the draft National Land Policy with the view to finalise the document. A road map was drawn on how the process will be undertaken.

Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) was identified as a major stakeholder to work with government on the land policy making process as it is the major Civil Society Organisation that works on land issues in the country. ZLA was tasked with mobilising input to the national land policy from other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and appointed to sit on the Technical Committee drafting the land policy. The government is expected to present the final draft of the policy at a national validation meeting this December.


  • Review of the 2006 Draft National Land Policy: A review of the 2006 Draft Land Policy was undertaken so as to help CSO’s understand some of the critical land related issues that need to be addressed in the country.
  • Stakeholder Mapping: As part of the process of getting stakeholder input, ZLA did a stakeholder mapping and identified organisations that can be part of the process.
  • Media Engagement: ZLA recognises the important role that the media plays in educating the masses on various issues as well as getting views and from the public. As a first step towards working with the media specifically on the land policy process, ZLA held a lunch meeting with editors from various media institutions at which both parties agreed on ways to raise awareness on the land policy.

How can you participate

After various consultations with Civil Society partners and other stakeholders including community members in various districts, ZLA developed a shadow land policy to present the desired policy provisions as demanded by stakeholders.  The shadow policy was presented to the Lands Minister Ms. Jean Kapata and other officials from the Ministry of Lands at a breakfast meeting held in Lusaka in December 2016. A number of suggestions from the shadow policy were adopted by the technical committee tasked to draft the National Land Policy which ZLA is a part of.Download the Shadow policy here >>> ZLA Shadow Land Policy

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Secured Land Access and Rights for All (SLARA) Project Launched in Samfya and Nchelenge Districts

July 19, 2016July 19, 2016
    Pic Slara     The Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) and Disability Rights Watch (DRW) with support from the Embassy of Finland of Lusaka  has launched the Secured Land Access and Rights for All (SLARA) project in Samfya and Nchelenge districts of Luapula Province. The overall objective of the project is to contribute towards secured access, ownership and control of land for 2,200 vulnerable households, particularly PWDs in Nchelenge and Samfya districts through enforcement of human rights and democratic processes in land administration for sustainable livelihoods and development by the end of 2018.      

Secured Land Access and Rights for All (SLARA) Project Launched in Samfya and Nchelenge Districts

July 19, 2016
Pic Slara   The Zambia Land Alliance and Disability Rights Watch with support from the Embassy of Finland has launched the Secured Land Access and Rights for All (SLARA) project in Samfya and Nchelenge districts of Luapula Province. The overall objective of the project is to contribute towards secured access, ownership and control of land for 2,200 vulnerable households, particularly PWDs in Nchelenge and Samfya districts through enforcement of human rights and democratic processes in land administration for sustainable livelihoods and development by the end of 2018.    


February 24, 2016February 24, 2016
Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) in partnership with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) on Thursday October 29th 2015 launched a new project Land Access Network for Development (L.A.N.D) and Justice. The launch which took place at the Southern Sun Ridgeway Hotel in Lusaka saw a number of ZLA and VSO partners come to witness the event. The meeting was also graced by government officials from the Ministry of Gender, and the Ministry of Local Governance and Housing. The three year L.A.N.D. Justice Project will focus on improving land access in Luapula Province will be financed by the European Union (EU). The project will seek to secure access and ownership of land as well as access to justice, particularly for vulnerable groups such as women, children and people living with disabilities. Speaking during the event, Guest of Honour Ministry of Gender Permanent Secretary Mrs. Daisy Ngambi said in a speech read on her behalf by the ministry’s Information Specialist that empowering women with land is key to reducing poverty in the nation. She urged all stakeholders to work together in making sure that land administration systems are fair and do not disadvantage the poor and other vulnerable groups such as the youth and women. The LAND Justice project was also launched in the three operational districts of Mansa, Chembe and Chiengi.  

We need better implementation of laws to see women’s rights protected- ZLA ED

January 28, 2016January 28, 2016
DSC_4791   Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) has called on the government to expedite the process of adopting a new land policy based on principle of gender equality to enhance women’s access to lands. Speaking when making submissions to parliamentary committee on lands chaired by Kalomo central MP request Muntanga ZLA executive director Nsama Chikolwa says land related laws on Zambia are very old and that there is need for the,laws to be reviewed to reflect the current land management challenges and opportunities. Ms Chikolwe also says the rule of law needs to be strictly applied to bring to a stop political interference in land administration. She also says the careful consideration should be given to urban land management to promote women’s access to urban land and for sustainable development. Download full submission here: SUBMISSION TO THE COMMITTEE ON LANDS (Gender)

ZLA Launches New Project in Nchelenge and Samfya Districts.

August 31, 2015August 31, 2015
  ZLA in partnership with its member organisation, Disability Rights Watch (DRW) is implementing this project in Samfya and Nchelenge Districts of Luapula Province . Its objective is "to contribute towards secured access, ownership and control of land for vulnerable households particularly people with disabilities through enforcement of human rights in processes of land administration for sustainable livelihoods and development. The project is supported by the Finnish Embassy of Lusaka. ZLA will be working in the two Districts for the first time. Pic Slara  

Launch of the Zambia Land Alliance LATS Project in Nyimba.

August 19, 2015August 19, 2015

Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) has yet again extended its tentacles by re-opening the Nyimba District Land Alliance to implement the Land Access and Tenure Security (LATS) project to the happiness of the stakeholders in the district

[caption id="attachment_1440" align="alignleft" width="171"]Launch of the Land Access and Tenure Security in Nyimba District Launch of the Land Access and Tenure Security in Nyimba District[/caption]

The project which was introduced to the stakeholders on 28th July in Nyimba district will focus on advancing knowledge on land rights, the ability of communities to access justice, promoting gender equality with regards to women’s land rights and participation in land administration, promoting transparency and accountability in the land administration system, piloting initiatives that can contribute to securing customary tenure in Zambia, advocating for pro poor land policies and laws and improving learning and networking among civil society dealing with land related issues.

The project is being implemented in 4 districts Lufwanyama, Lusaka, Solwezi and Nyimba respectively.

Welcoming the move, Chief Ndake expressed gratitude adding that his subject stood to benefit from the project citing the remarkable results from the Traditional Land Holding Certificates (TLHCs) which ZLA introduced in the chiefdom 3 years ago.

Click to view LATS Project profile

The Testimony of the Customary Land Holders Certificate in Nyimba by chief Ndake

August 19, 2015

Chief Ndake of Ndake Chiefdom has said that the Traditional Land Holding Certificate (TLHCs) have reduced land disputes in his chiefdom and enhanced the protection of women land rights.

[caption id="attachment_1438" align="alignleft" width="150"]Chief Ndake (left) during the launch of the Land Access and Tenure Security (LATS) Project in Nyimba Chief Ndake (left) during the launch of the Land Access and Tenure Security (LATS) Project in Nyimba[/caption]

To that effect he has called upon Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) to advocate that the traditional leaders in the country embrace the TLHCs.

His Royal Highness chief Ndake explained that from the time that the TLHCs were introduced in his chiefdom, the number of land disputes had gone down because the certificates helped to provided evidence on the ownership of land and beacons are set on the ground to showing boundaries.

He added that women especially widows in his chiefdom now enjoy their land rights because they are protected even if their spouse dies, the TLHC protects them as the next of kin

“Cases of people fighting over land in my area has reduced because the TLHCs comes with it the setting of boundaries for each piece of land, and no woman will lose land because her husband has died because their details are entered on the certificate” explained the chief.

He further said that it would be a good practice that other chiefs and traditional leader can buy into even though the certificates are not at the same level as a title deed, they provided some form of security under customary tenure adding that even financial lending institutions such as Barclays and Natsave banks now wanted to work with his subjects because they have seen that they own land.


July 15, 2015July 15, 2015
Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) Chairperson Mr. Eugene Kabilika has called on the church to join the advocacy campaign to promote land rights for especially poor Zambians. Speaking during a meeting between ZLA and two church mother bodies- Zambia Episcopal Conference and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia on May 7, Mr. Kabilika said the church has a responsibility of ensuring that people’s rights are protected because land issues are issues that affect everyone. ZLA Executive Director Mrs. Nsama Nsemiwe Chikolwa said the country’s land administration system is in desperate need of a policy to protect people on their land. “If we do not tackle the issue of land, we deepen the poverty levels of already poor people who depend on land for their livelihood. Land tenure insecurity brings about displacements for local communities often with inadequate or no compensation” Mrs. Chikolwa said. Mrs Chikolwa added that a land policy is a cardinal document as it will be able to provide guidelines on issues such as compensation for example in the event that displacement of people is inevitable. In response to the call, ZEC Secretary General Father Cleophas Lungu said it was indeed important for stakeholders to join hands in advocating for policy measures that will protect the land rights of Zambians.  Father Lungu said the current situation of land administration in the country is full of injustices especially against the poor, and as such measures need to be drawn up and put in place as a matter of urgency in order to ensure sanity in the way land is administered in the country. “There is a lot of injustice and disorder surrounding land administration in the country; it is therefore incumbent upon the church and other stakeholders to work together in advocating for laws and policies that will help curb the illegalities and injustices in the land administration system in the country” Father Lungu said.  


July 15, 2015
[caption id="attachment_1421" align="alignleft" width="150"]Gwembe District MP, Honourable Brian Ndundu, posing for a picture after the meeting. Gwembe District MP, Honourable Brian Ndundu, posing for a picture after the meeting.[/caption] Member of Parliament for Gwembe Honourable Brian Ndundu says the Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA)’s Enhancing Sustainable Livelihoods through Land Tenure Security (SULTS) project has come at a good time to help empower the underprivileged on how they will be able to protect their land. Mr. Ndundu was speaking during a dialogue meeting between government officials and community based organisations organised by the SULTS project to enable stakeholders discuss ways of promoting land tenure security in the district. “I am happy that ZLA is working in Gwembe to supplement Government efforts in helping the vulnerable communities attain land tenure security.  As area member of parliament, I support this project and urge Land Alliance to pay special attention to women because in Gwembe this category of people have fallen victims of land grabbing,” he said. Speaking during the same meeting Gwembe District Commissioner Mrs. Alice Mwiinga said it is policy of the government to harmonize disputes between customary and state land. “I would like to urge Gwembe council to work with the community and all the other stakeholders to ensure that both the interests of the local people and the state are taken care of in all these land issues.  From this good cooperation that I have seen in this meeting among all the departments, l am convinced that we shall work towards reducing poverty among the people who are vulnerable through Land tenure security,” she said. The ZLA SULTS project is a European Union and Danish Church Aid funded project that aims to contribute to sustaining the livelihoods of 1,600 households in Gwembe district by enhancing land tenure security of the target families. The three year project is also being implemented in Solwezi and Monze districts.


July 15, 2015
Random street interviews conducted by ZLA revealed that many residents feel there is not enough education on land rights and responsibilities, a situation they credited as the cause of high levels of corruption in areas such as land allocation. “Honestly speaking as a young person, I have no idea; I don’t know where I should start from if I decide to acquire land today. There is need for more information; the Ministry of Lands should educate the public on some of these issues” Sheila a University of Zambia student. Mr. Sitali a Lusaka resident said he is aware that every Zambian has the right to land but is rather saddened that not everyone is able to access land. “Only the rich get land in Zambia, there is really no chance for people without money. That is why people end up going to political party cadres hoping that it will be faster and cheaper, but they end up being cheated as well” he said. However Mrs. Ired Zulu feels that people are aware of the correct procedures of acquiring land but bemoaned the long process of application. “People know, we know, it is the corrupt system that makes people to use short cuts” She claimed. “I can start the application quite alright but next time I go, my file will be missing or the land which was on offer is suddenly unavailable unless you produce a ‘brown envelop’.  We need to clean up the system if we want to talk about land rights” she said. Alice Chanda a resident of Chipata Compound in Lusaka said the Zambian government must consider the plight of the poor when it comes to issues of access to land; and Esnart Lungu of the same area said it sad to note that non Zambians are given priority over Zambians when it comes to land allocation. “ Government must first look at its own people, many Zambians are already poor, if we lose our land where are we going to go? Are we going back to colonial era?” she questioned.
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