SUSPENDED Livingstone City mayor Milford Maambo should be arrested for allegedly allocating 18 plots to himself because using council officials to probe him will not yield any fruits, the International Institute of Democracy and Conflict Resolution (IIDCR) has charged
IIDCR president Tresford Chomba told the Daily Nation yesterday that there was need for stern actions against people who had continued to engage in dubious acts of illegally acquiring land if the fight against the scourge was to yield any positive results.
Reacting to the Livingstone City Council (LCC)’s move to constitute a seven man committee to investigate Mr. Maambo’s alleged illegal acquisition of 18 plots, Mr. Chomba said nothing would be achieved by using the same corrupt council officers who may have been involved in the issue to investigate the mayor.
He said there was need for Mr. Maambo to be arrested immediately so that he could exculpate himself on how he managed to acquire the 18 plots while others were complaining of lack of land in the tourist capital.
“We call for the immediate arrest of Livingstone mayor Milford Maambo so that he can exculpate himself in the courts of law. Setting up a committee of council officials to probe him will not give us the desired results because there is a high probability that he may have acquired the same plots with the help of the same people who will be looking into his case and that means there will be no impartiality over the matter,” Mr. Chomba said.
He said there was need for Government to set up a committee that would carry out land assessment throughout the country by auditing all district councils adding that the propensity by most public service workers, especially those working for the councils to acquire wealth using crooked methods was so high.
“There are a lot of things happening in most councils throughout the country with regards to land and this is where Government should come in and act if we are to bring sanity in the operations of the council. What we need now is an independent committee that will audit all the councils in the country over how it has apportioned land. Most civil servants want to get rich using short-cuts without considering the repercussions of such actions,” Mr Chomba said.
He said Government needed to put stringent measures that would govern the distribution of land adding that the country was headed for a land crisis if the prevailing situation remained unchanged. Mr Chomba observed that too much reliance on the land tribunal had allegedly cost the country a lot because it had failed to live up to its mandate adding that there was need for concerted efforts from other agencies dealing with cases of corruption to come in . “Land does not grow; it cannot be extended and so, there is need to safe-guard it jealously from abuse otherwise, we will have a serious land crisis in the near future if the situation is not addressed immediately. For the Livingstone case, there is need for the Anti-Corruption Committee to move in and conduct a thorough investigation because this may just be the tip of the iceberg. If one person can have 18 plots, what of those close to him and those who helped him get these plots? Let us not rely on the land tribunal because it is not doing anything; it is toothless,” he said.