Gov’t plans to weed out land grabbers

Gov’t plans to weed out land grabbers
FAO Representative in South Sudan Meshack Malo and the Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Michael Chiengiek , address the media during the workshop. [Photo: courtesy]

The government launched a land ownership policy aimed at streamlining the sector by clearing the rows that have choked the concerned ministry. 

Speaking during the launch in Juba yesterday, the Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Michael Chiengie, said the Draft National Land Policy 2022 will be a game-changer in solving disputes and improving investments upon implementation. 

The document is ripe to be passed by the parliament into law and covers various measures in addressing land ownership rows.

For instance, it contemplates the solutions to land disputes; protection of land rights, sustainable use of land and natural resources; security of land tenure and property rights; transparency; and accountability in regard to land distribution, among others. 

According to the policy, the judiciary ‘‘shall establish divisions in the high court in each state.’’

‘‘The state high courts and state courts of appeal are key institutions that deal with land disputes at the state levels,’’ the policy states in part. 

The policy further states that the ministry of lands, housing and urban development and the concerned state ministries will be training the personnel on how to maintain the comprised land registries. 

Crackdown on land grabbing

In his opening remarks during the final validation workshop, the minister said that the policy would help in cracking down on land grabbing. 

“This could be the only policy that would address all of the issues, including this rampant land grabbing, which is becoming a cancer in the country.” Some people take things for themselves, and they are not even guided by any policy,” he claimed. 

He added that the policy would help the authorities end the rampant lawlessness in the areas of land distribution in the country.

“But with this policy at hand we will be able now to deal with that lawlessness, those who are thinking they can be everything in this country, No one will be above the law when this law policy is passed,” he said.    

He called on the citizens to support the policy so that it can be passed by the parliament.

“We wish all of us should support the policy after this validation workshop so that it can be passed by the parliament,” he said.

Chiengie said the policy would increase the investment level in the country arguing there is an already developed policy, hence, many investors would not be afraid to own large amounts of land for investment. 

“With proper land policy, we will be able to guide our investors and even give hope to all our people, including our developmental partners.’’  

He appreciated state governors and partners for their support of the development of the policy.

Meshack Malo, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in South Sudan, said the policy would encourage investors who are in the diaspora to come and invest at home. 

“We believe this will help even in investment and even local investment.” Most investors will be local investors in South Sudan, and this one would provide a guideline so that those South Sudanese who are outside can come back and even have investment, “Malo said.