Letter to the Editor

Is C K Marble image-laundering?

Dear editor
I WRITE to respond to the article ‘From battlefield to modern complex’ which appeared in the Zambia Daily Mail of August 12, 2014.
Firstly, the article was mono-sourced from C.K Marble managing director Elijah Kasonso.
It deliberately ignored to speak to the Marble Village complex residents or plot owners in Chinika area, Lusaka West, Lusaka City Council (LCC), MMD or Patriotic Front (PF) officials.
Not even the former owner of the land (Marble), the Zambia Police Service whose views would have given a clear, correct and complete history of the plots saga.
A satisfied customer is said to be the best public relations officer!
Secondly, I am one of those who acquired land in the area in 2002 and settled there in 2004 before C.K Marble company was formed to regularise the ownership.
It would therefore be important to state the other side of the story.
The truth is that the owner of C.K Marble was also an encroacher before he formed the company riding on the confusions surrounding ownership of the undeveloped former farmland and industrial area.
From about 2005 when he circulated memoranda to settlers to pay for the pieces of land they each occupied, no one has yet been given a title deed except letters of offer, which are also conditionally given.
One of the conditions is payment of three quarters of an unfixed offer price.
Despite people paying, after being subjected to a “commitment fee” and a yellow card, the MMD called for the LCC to intervene and not C.K Marble.
Such were the battles fought on this land, which land has continued to be characterised with cadres (MMD converted to PF) encroaching on C.K Marble.
On its part C.K Marble commercialised the land to the extent of repossessing and reselling it to the highest bidders while on television, radio and other media claiming to be assisting poor people to own land.
Therefore, the article and its endorsement letter to the editor needed to investigate or research or multi-source.
Otherwise, it stands as advertorial and cover-up before tenants who will think Daily Mail is assisting to launder the image of the company for terrorising settlers.
As Zambia clocks 50 years we need both a land audit and audit of C.K Marble itself so that there is transparency.
There is also need to audit titled land that has not been developed or absentee landlords.
Otherwise some people will enrich themselves as they impoverish others riding on the claim of helping poor landless Zambians to acquire land.
Contrary to the Daily Mail article, Marble Village complex is still a battlefield.
Freedom Way,

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