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Chiefs demand Land Law repeal

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Chiefs and some people calling themselves Concerned Citizens from Rumphi have called on Members of Parliament (MPs) to repeal the new Customary Land Act that was passed in 2016, arguing the law has caused ill-feelings among chiefs and the community.

The 30 chiefs, who claimed to be representing all chiefs in Rumphi, presented a petition to Parliament yesterday saying there is need for the legislators to repeal the law.

According to the chiefs, it is against their culture for them to pay fees for land, as is stipulated in the newly introduced law under Section 20 Subsection 1.

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Chief Kawazamawe of Rumphi, who handed over the petition to Chairperson of the Agricultural Committee of Parliament, Joseph Chidanti Malunga said chiefs are not in favour of the law.

“According to the Chiefs Act, it is clearly stipulated that Customary Land is under the chiefs. So we are surprised that committees are responsible for land according to the newly introduced Land law, under Section 4, on management. What is the status of argued the chiefs.

In his remarks, Joseph Chidanti Malunga said he feels ashamed that the legislators passed a bill that is not wanted by the people.

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“We are embarrassed. This clearly shows that we passed a law that the majority of Malawians do not like. It is high time we took heed the concerns and see how the law can be repealed. This is an indication that we did not do our assignment properly,” he said.

In November, 2016, Parliament passed Registered Land (Amendment) Bill which seeks to take the land registration approval powers from the minister responsible for land to customary land committees and Traditional Authorities whose jurisdiction the land falls under.

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