By Paul Shalala in Kalulushi
Over 2, 000 settlers of Ichimpe Forest in Kalulushi have dragged the local authority to the Kitwe High Court for not implementing a full council resolution which called for the issuance of residential
plots to them.
According to an affidavit in support of ex-parte notice of application for leave to apply for judicial review and originating notice motion for judicial review, the applicants want the council to immediately
give them the plots.
The applicants, who are led by Moses Walima, have submitted before the court that they have been paying the Kalulushi Municipal council to issue them offer letters from as far back as 2010 but nothing has happened.
Mr Walima says the settlers have further been angered by the presence of Chinese investors who have started placing beacons and constructing wall fences to close off land they have bought.
And Ichimpe ward Councillor Evaristo Mwalilino has threatened to resign if the settlers in Ichimpe Forest are not awarded the plots they have been occupying.
Mr Mwalilino says it is unfair for the full council meeting to pass a resolution which management at the local authority has failed to implement.
When reached for a comment, the Kalulushi Municipal Council refused to comment saying they were still consulting with their lawyers as the case is now in court.
But in a earlier letter written by Kalulushi Acting Town Clerk Josephine Simwinga addressed to the Ichimpe settlers, the council told them that the passing of a council resolution does not warrant an immediate action.
Initially, the area was a forest until when statutory instrument number two of 2007 was passed to degazet part of Ichimpe forest to accommodate the settlers.
The statutory instrument only allowed the settlers to conduct farming activities and not reside there.
Since then, the settlers have been farming carrots, vegetables and other crops.
For over seven years, the settlers have been pushing for the Kalulushi Municipal Council to allow them to move in and get title to the land.
On 23rd June 2015, a full council meeting resolved that settlers be given plots in Bwafwano upper and Kankomo area for residential purposes.
However, since then, the local authority has not implemented its own resolution and the settlers are not happy.