THE Lusaka City Council should know that no amount of intimidation will correct the wrong and seemingly corrupt procedure used in the sale of land that houses the Libala tennis and basketball courts.
There was no full council meeting which endorsed the sale and there was no ministerial approval and the entire process smacked at corruption.
There was only one advertisement in one particular newspaper and the reason for this was not being explained which compelled some of the council workers to raise the red flag over the sale of the two pieces of land to a Chinese investor.
It is because of those hanging questions that Local Government Minister John Phiri had a tough time in Parliament to explain the sale of the Libala land and up to now Dr Phiri has not provided a satisfactory answer to the many questions that were asked.
We therefore expected the council to do better than suspend Libala Ward 7 Councillor Emmanuel Chanda over his stance to lift the lid on the illegal and secret sale of the Libala tennis court land to a Chinese investor for the construction of a shopping mall.
Mr Chanda as civic leader looking over the land which houses the tennis and basketball courts had the obligation and was within his right to question how the land was disposed of by the council without his knowledge.
What Mr Chanda was demanding were answers so that he could be acknowledgeable about the sale of the land and if asked by his electorate, he could offer reasonable explanation.
Therefore, instead of suspending Mr Chanda, the council should have engaged not only him as a civic leader but also with other councillors to find a lasting solution to the rampant illegal allocation and sale of land in Lusaka.
The illegal allocation of land in Lusaka and other parts of the country has become such a perverse cancer which needs radical decisions by those with powers to cure it because at the rate things are going, there is a possibility that most of public land is going to be looted.
There are so many areas in Lusaka where land administration has been found wanting but the council seems not to be taking a bold step to get to the bottom of the problem.
The council appears to be reactive to newspapers to the illegal sale and allocation of land and after that, there is no action apart from dealing with the voices that blow the whistle.
Our view is that the council should have done a land audit to ensure that developers were legally entitled to where they have built or were building.
This is possible to achieve as councillors live within their wards and certainly know which buildings and pieces of land were legal.
With the aid of planning charts and council officials in the department of housing, this could be an achievable task.
It is for this reason that we do not support the suspension of Mr Chanda who genuinely confessed that he was not aware of the sale of land in Libala.
He explained that while the matter was brought to the council, the discussions were not conclusive as it was referred to a committee which never resubmitted the proposal to have the land sold.
Therefore, we feel that the suspension of Mr Chanda is simply an act of intimidation and it is our demand that it must be lifted forthwith without any conditions.