Land Bill not ready for tabling
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu has said the meeting of Parliament currently underway in Lilongwe is not going to discuss the Land Bill because it is not ready for tabling.
This is despite the fact that civil society organisation (CSOs) advocating for the tabling and subsequent enactment of the Bill were promised that it would be presented during the current Parliament meeting.
In an interview yesterday, Tembenu said the processes that a bill is supposed to go through before a parent ministry presents it in Parliament have not been exhausted.
“A bill originates from a ministry, in this case, the Ministry of Lands, then it comes to our ministry for vetting after which we send it back to the parent ministry. Then they make it ready to go to the Cabinet committee on Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs.
That is the process which we have to go through which is still pending,” said Tembenu.
Asked whether the CSOs that intensively advocate for the tabling of the Bill are aware that it is not going to be tabled, Tembenu expressed ignorance, reiterating that the position remains that the Bill is not ready for tabling.
LandNet, a network of some CSOs that are championing the passing of the Bill, expressed optimism sometime back that the bill would be tabled during the current meeting of Parliament.
Tembenu said he hopes the Bill will be tabled in the next meeting of Parliament “because there is nothing that can be done now”.
The Land Bill, which was passed in Parliament in 2013, was not assented to by former president Joyce Banda after some CSOs protested that their concerns were not captured in the Bill.
Among others, the 2013 Bill provided for some restrictions on foreigners owning land in the country.
Section 4 (1) of the Bill read: “A person who is not a citizen of Malawi shall not be allocated or granted freehold land unless it is for investment purposes in accordance with the Investments and Export Promotion Act, 2012, and that such investor has formed a partnership or a joint venture with a Malawian.”
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