By Dickson Jere
Do you know that land ownership details in Zambia are public? With the Plot number known for the 48 Chalala Houses, you can go to the Lands and Deeds Registry at the Ministry of Lands and conduct a search. The search print-out results will show you the entire transaction on that land! Even names will be there. If computer print-out is empty, ask for the Green File – it is public document too! You will find actual hard copies of the transaction.
If the land is registered in a company, you proceed to PACRA to check the shareholders and directors of that company. Company documents are also public documents and accessible to the public for a fee. Get the names. Voila, publish them!
Secondly, why can’t you go and interview the tenants? Whom were they paying rentals before ACC took over? They must have tenancy agreement which they signed when moving into those houses! Give us the names! Then since Zambia is too small, once names have been revealed, connecting dots will be easy! So forget about the ACC, as journalists, you have a crucial role of doing your own investigations on behalf of the public!
During our journalism heydays, our editor Masauso Phiri at the Post Newspaper, always relished such stories! “Vumbwe,” he would say, “Let’s get to the bottom of this story”! I wonder if such appetite for good scoops still exists.