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Land Bill leaves many unanswered questions

Moiketsi Phakisi

MASERU — God created man and gave him the whole world to earn a living by controlling and consuming all products like trees and crops as well as all animals, reptiles and birds available both in the seas and on earth.
As the purpose of God was for man to multiply and fill the whole world, peoples of the world increased over centuries and migrated all over the globe until they split the world into continents and countries during the great migration in the dark and middle ages.
Every tribe and clan which discovered unoccupied land settled there and it became their permanent home or country until nowadays when foreigners from other countries travelled for tourism or business purposes or applied for citizenship as individuals.
Basotho also experienced the same nomadic process until they finally landed here in southern of Africa after migrating from North/East Africa where they originated.
During the voyages of exploration white European settlers tried to conquer our territory, Lesotho, by force but our grandfathers defended our land and sovereignty through terrible wars.
Finally they won and rescued the land/soil for us their grandchildren who are also supposed to protect and safeguard it for the many generations to come.
It is thus shocking to learn that land, which our inherited pride, might be indirectly dispossessed from the traditional owners to be sold to foreigners permanently as long as a lot of money is obtained from those buyers.
This is one of the major provisions of the Land Bill (2009) tabled before parliament last month by the so-called democratic government.
Lesotho’s laws presently do not allow foreigners to own land.
The government says it wants to revamp the current land tenure system because it “hampers investments and creates dysfunctional land markets”.
It says the proposed law will lure direct foreign investment which is assumed will benefit the country immensely.
But where will such a law leave the poor, who are the majority in this kingdom?
It’s inevitable that the poor are likely to be driven off the land which they have traditionally considered theirs.
The Land Bill (2009) leaves us with so many unanswered questions over its real motives.
Who really wants to repeal the traditional laws which safeguard land only for Basotho and replace them with laws that will allow the rich to buy our land regardless of where they come from?
We know not unless it’s not true that the law reform section of the Ministry of Justice consists of only Basotho citizens whose grandfathers also fought for this land for them.
Could they propose a law that will allow the sale of this country to the rich imperialists or capitalists?
Are Basotho and Africans as a whole aware that global village and free market competition is giving foreign powers our land/soil permanently?
They are buying our land using funds extracted unfairly from Africa by our labour and animals which are were not paid for in the first place.
So they are buying our land with our money.
We have to stress the point that all people in power or government should be patriots in order to secure and safeguard national interests.
Now that 2010 World Cup tournament in South Africa is at the doorstep, our authorities should turn a new page, be patriotic and be on the high alert to safeguard the citizens and national economy so that our heroes who died for this country should not regret our existence.
Long live Lesotho, long live Africa.

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