The Landsafe Socioecological Development Model for the The Landsafe Socioecological Development Model for the
Customary Commons of Zambia: Evolution and Formalization Customary Commons of Zambia: Evolution and Formalization
Recommended Citation Recommended Citation
The Landsafe Socioecological Development Model for the Customary Commons of
Zambia: Evolution and Formalization
, 52 Nat. Resources J. 195 (2012).
Available at: https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nrj/vol52/iss1/7
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The Landsafe Socioecological
Development Model for the
Customary Commons of Zambia:
Evolution and Formalization
Zambia is either customary land (94%) under some measure of
control by chiefs and headmen, or state land (6%), comprising
protected areas and land held under 99-year leasehold. Pro-
tected areas and their resources are prone to alienation by the
state for mining, forestry, fisheries and wildlife exploitation.
Customary land comprises villages and their surrounding ag-
ricultural land, the remainder being the customary commons
that is harvested and plundered for its natural resources by
residents, non-residents and criminals. It is also subject to
alienation to leasehold by chiefs and government officials, and
appropriated by the state for agriculture and agribusiness, for-
estry, fisheries, mining, tourism, wildlife conservation and
game harvesting. Customary area residents with significant
wildlife populations are 30% poorer than those living else-
where. Customary residents have no ownership or harvesting
rights to game animals. To counteract the open-access harvest-
ing and plunder of customary land and the protected land as-
sociated with it, it is proposed that statutory trusts be
established by customary communities, that customary land
be vested in them, and that they enter into co-management
custodial and harvesting agreements with the state in respect
to fisheries, forestry, water and wildlife. Between 2003 and
2011, the author attempted to implement his model, called
Landsafe, in two adjoining chiefdoms in the Luangwa Valley.
This article proposes that the successful implementation of
Landsafe would assure customary residents secure access to
land and lasting benefits from renewable natural resources, es-
sential to biodiversity conservation and to the socioecological
and cultural integrity of Zambia.
Statist governance in Zambia has failed to decentralize powers
and responsibilities over land and renewable natural resources. Indige-
* Ian Manning, Ph.D., c/o The Center for Wildlife Management, University of
Pretoria, South Africa—to whom all correspondence should be directed.
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196 NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL [Vol. 52
nous cultural and religious systems, when allied with the 94% of land
under the de jure control of chiefs i.e., customary land, require institu-
tionalized protection and management support. This article adheres to
the Landsafe model, which suggests that a rediscovery of a peoples
lutionary and adaptive success offers hope to failing patrimonial states
such as Zambia.
September 23, 2011, marked the accession to power of a political
party with an avowedly Christian ethical framework that encompasses
stewardship of nature and a determination to reduce the size of govern-
ment and decentralize.
A national network of customary areas provides
fertile ground for an alternative cultural and socioeconomic develop-
ment model to that of purely acquisitive capitalism and chronic donor
However, the state has demarcated parts of many of the custom-
ary areas as protected Game Management Areas (GMA) now under the
control of its parastatal organization, the Zambia Wildlife Authority
There are 36 GMAs all located within chiefdoms that have sig-
nificant wildlife populations, most of which border protected areas. The
Wildlife Act allows the minister, in consultation with the local commu-
nity and ZAWA, to declare a GMA for the sustainable utilization of wild-
life and for the
economic and social well-being of the local
The Act also allows for the co-management of GMAs be-
tween ZAWA and their proxies, Community Resources Boards (CRB), to
whom ZAWA may devolve authority for wildlife and natural resource
In customary areas containing GMAs, land falling outside
that classification is designated as open area.
The Wildlife Act impinges upon the rights of customary residents
in GMAs and open areas by requiring that they conform to the provi-
sions of a management plan developed by
an appropriate board.
also empowers ZAWA in GMAs to extract tourism concession and land-
user right fees to harvest game animals. Yet, biodiversity is unprotected,
and villagers do not have the resources to protect themselves from
animal depredations. Communities do not earn their share of income
from these rentals and have few essential services. The state conservation
FFICE OF THE
4 (2011), available at
2. Zambia Wildlife Act No. 12 (1998) G
(Acts), at Part V.26.1.
3. Id. at Part III.9.1.
4. Id. at Part III.
5. Id. at Part I.2 (
means an area other than a National Park, Game Man-
agement Area, bird sanctuary or wildlife sanctuary where wild animals are found.
6. Zambia Wildlife Act No. 12 (1998) G
(Acts), at Part V.28. See also id. at
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Spring 2012] THE SOCIOECOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL 197
agents criminalize and often abuse, imprison, and occasionally kill vil-
lagers seeking a subsistence living from renewable resources on their
Given the control exerted by the state over natural resources and
customary communities, the misconception that GMAs are state land is
Adding to this misconception is the state
addition of another protected area category within customary areas
called Community Partnership Parks (CPP) where safari hunting is
Indicative of the dangers of customary land alienation to state
control was a proposed intensive development by ZAWA
Resource Boards in nine GMAs surrounding the Kafue National Park.
In December 2008, Zambia became eligible to receive funding from the
Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC), initiating the Greater Kafue
National Park Economic Development Project (GKNP Project) and over-
taking plans to develop a number of Joint Management Concessions
(JMC) with multiple investors in the National Park.
In September 2011,
the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) government canceled
the JMC block-system proposal, for which ZAWA had recruited the ser-
vices of a brokerage company funded by the World Bank, and handed it
to the MCC, a bilateral U.S. foreign aid agency established in 2004. The
GKNP Project of the MCC had the following broad aims:
7. Christopher Miti, Police Nab Nyimba Villagers for Burning ZAWA Camp, T
(Zambia), Sept. 26, 2009; S
ROUND AND IN THE
: A C
(Mipashi Associates 2005); Phone Interview with Anonymous Community
Leader (Oct. 2009) (A Chinambi villager, Peter Siyani, was killed on September 20, 2009—
the fourth villager, in the same area, in the previous nine years.).
8. See, e.g., M
19-21 (2007), available at
9. ZAWA Draft Act (2008) G
(Acts), Part IV.10 (amending Zambia Wild-
life Act No. 12 (1998)).
[T]o provide for the establishment, control and co-management of
Community Partnership Parks for the conserving and restoring the native elements of bi-
odiversity and their underlying ecological structure for non-consumptive forms of recrea-
tion and environmental education.
Id. at 2.
. 3) (2011).
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198 NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL [Vol. 52
To promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduc-
tion in the greater KNP area through increased nature-based
tourism, improved park and wildlife management capacity,
and greater participation in tourism and diversified livelihood
activities by the rural communities in the surrounding Game
Management Areas (GMAs).
The consultants recommended that the alienation of land to lease-
hold be allowed in the GMAs so that they would be able to maximize
consumptive and non-consumptive tourism, citing the fact that private
sector companies had already done so.
Instead of an independent and
decentralized customary community statutory structure, they recom-
mended that the CRB be registered as a trust and that they carry out the
development with a single nongovernmental organization (NGO) part-
These recommendations to the MCC raised considerable concerns
of the possibility of yet another appropriation of customary land by
ZAWA, acting in consort with a single outside agency. The recommenda-
tion for strengthening of CRBs and conversion to trust status so as to
deliver Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) was
a reversion to a notable CBNRM failure in Zambia, the Administrative
Management Design for GMAs program (ADMADE).
MCC canceled the proposed project.
The Landsafe model is proposed to empower people of the cus-
through the formation of statutory trusts in which
they may vest and secure customary land. Trusts would be empowered
to negotiate and sign Co-Management Agreements (CMA) with the gov-
ernment in respect of wildlife, protected areas, forests, fisheries, and
water resources. This model would protect forests, water resources, and
vested lands in chiefdoms with significant wildlife. Furthermore, it
would allow for controlled low-impact use by investors, such that they
would not impinge unnecessarily on traditional rights or on the reestab-
lishment of traditional guardians of nature. It would also give customary
, supra note 10, at 1. R
13. Id. at 125.
14. Id. at 136.
15. I.P.A. Manning, Wildlife Conservation in Zambia and the Landsafe Customary
Commons 61–65 (2011) (unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Pretoria, South Af-
rica) http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-06162011-151649/ (last visited July 10,
16. Customary Commons – all customary land, but in particular those natural re-
source elements outside of villages and village agricultural land - forests, atmosphere, riv-
ers and lagoons, fisheries and wildlife that are shared, used and enjoyed by all the people
residing on customary land under the authority of a chief; Commons – the elements of the
environment enjoyed and shared by all.
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Spring 2012] THE SOCIOECOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL 199
communities greater powers of protection from alienation of their land
to 99-year leaseholds, uncontrolled usufruct handouts by chiefs, or state
The customary commons of Zambia are increasingly plundered
for their natural resources. Burgeoning urban populations provide a
market for the customary commons
bushmeat, charcoal, and fish stocks.
Investors in industrial agriculture, in consort with the political elite, take
over their customary land and force out the commons
ers, destroying forests and water resources in the process.
panies dislocate villagers, imperil their health and pollute their
Part I of this article describes the current condition of the custom-
ary commons. Part II describes the evolution of Landsafe. Part III out-
lines the procedural requirements to formalize and implement the
II. THE CUSTOMARY COMMONS
De facto customary control of Zambia covers 94% of the territory,
while de jure control is total in both the cultural and moral sense. In
Zambia, land is either state (leasehold and protected land) or customary
land. The prevalent system on customary land allows resident villagers
to obtain usufruct
land rights, i.e., the rights to its use, for cultivation
from a headman, in consultation with a chief.
Once acquired, the com-
munity protects the land. Should the individual leave the land, it reverts
once more to the control of the headmen and their chief. A chief usually
17. Ernest Chanda, Zambia: Nansanga Bloc Farmers Face Homelessness, T
17, 2011), http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/19090; I.P.A. Manning, The Kazangulu Land
Clearance in Zambia, F
RISIS AND THE
(Apr. 17, 2011), http://
? 13 (2010), available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/38650866/
EVELOPMENT OF THE
5 (2003), available at http://www.aec.
(J Duncan M Derret ed., 1968)
[t]he principle of customary tenure whereby anyone can have access to and
the use of a piece of land but cannot claim any form of ownership of it.
. The latter implies
in English jurisprudence—from which Zambia
s laws are derived—title to the lands and
full rights of management including the rights of alienation (ownership at law) but not
necessarily possession or enjoyment of benefits which may belong to the owner at equity.);
1–3 (Max Gluckman & J.M. Winterbottom
eds., The Rhodes-Livingstone Institute, 1945)
21. See generally Chiefs Act (1965) G
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200 NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL [Vol. 52
does not extract taxes or food from individuals or headmen, the society
being generally egalitarian. Less common are instances where lineages
control land rights: where people able to trace their heritage from a com-
mon ancestry reserve the exclusive right to use and access agricultural
land. In some areas, heirs of a matrilineage or patrilineage may sell land
to people outside of their common ancestry.
However, both systems
allow for land not under usufruct in a chiefdom to be accessible to all
residents for the subsistence harvesting of renewable resources such as
those fisheries, forests, and wildlife which are not under the direct con-
trol of the state.
With the agreement of chiefs—and of ZAWA in GMAs—local Dis-
trict Councils may award a provisional certificate of title of 14 years.
This provisional title automatically expands to a 99-year renewable
leasehold period after the completion of cadastral surveys and other re-
quirements, unless the chief lodges a caveat. The chief can agree to alien-
ate land, but the Commissioner of Lands, as lessor, controls the lease and
extracts ground rents.
The amount of these ground rents is at the mercy
of arbitrary decisions taken by the Ministry of Lands and issued in the
form of statutory instruments.
Chiefs are now once more in the ascendant, despite their
marginalization under the United National Independence Party (UNIP)
and the subsequent removal of their administrative and business devel-
opment roles. Chiefs were elevated, and in many cases, created, by the
colonial provincial administration under the policy of Indirect Rule.
a workshop in June 1997, the 50 attending chiefs recommended to insti-
tute the House of Chiefs as an upper legislative chamber.
22. Charles Matthew Newton White, A Preliminary Survey of Luvale Rural Economy, in
. 29 (1959), cited in Gear M. Kajoba, Land Use and Land
Tenure in Africa: Towards an Evolutionary Conceptual Framework 2–3 (unpublished man-
uscript), available at http://codesria.org/IMG/pdf/Kajoba.pdf.
23. Bastiaan van Loenen, Land Tenure in Zambia (1999) (unpublished manuscript) (on
file with the University of Maine Department of Spatial Information Engineering) 5, availa-
ble at http://www.spatial.maine.edu/~onsrud/Landtenure/CountryReport/Zambia.pdf.
A Provisional Certificate of Title is a certificate that a district counsel issues in accordance
with the Lands and Deeds Registry Act No. 38 (1994) G
(Acts) Part I.2.a.
24. Lands Act No. 20 (1996) G
(Acts), Part II.11 (Zam.).
25. Jervis Zimba, Press Statement on the Recent Increase of Ground Rent by the Ministry of
the-ministry-of-lands&catid=46:press-statements&Itemid=67 (last visited Nov. 25, 2011).
39 (London, United Soc
for Christian Literature eds., 1937).
320 (Michael Cowan & Liisa
Laakso eds., 2002).
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Spring 2012] THE SOCIOECOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL 201
government appointed the Clerk to the House of Chiefs, and the House
merely served the bidding of the President, as revealed by the recent
volte-face over the removal and reappointment of Senior Chief Luembe of
the Ambo people, despite the recommendations of the House.
this continuation of the chieftaincy
s rule is an instance
of undemocratic despotism.
To others, Zambia needs to conjure up its
own idea of development:
In the end really we will never achieve political or economic
independence until we develop a distinctly Zambian idea to
solving our economic problems. We are struggling to achieve
local development because there
s no local idea of develop-
ment and no vision of what institutions can deliver a more
harmonious route to getting there.
A. Avoiding the Tragedy of the Commons
The alienation of customary land and untrammeled open-access
to customary areas threatens the customary tenure system. The state and
some chiefs alienate parts of customary land for mining, agribusiness,
and game ranching.
Residents of the customary commons must also
contend with outside plunderers in search of charcoal, fish, bushmeat,
timber, and ivory, a state of affairs often described as the
tragedy of the
Fears of this anarchical state are often used to justify inter-
ventions by external forces or greater centralized government control.
One reviewer defined three variants to state ownership and con-
trol of natural resources in Zambia as being either controlled open-ac-
cess, regulated common-property regimes or private property regimes.
This same reviewer complained of government
s failure to provide se-
28. Rohit Negi,
We Are the Implementers of Development
: Chiefs, Capital, and
Politics in Zambia 1 (2008) (unpublished manuscript), available at http://www.scribd.
29. A Cultural Approach to Zambia
s Development. . ., Z
. (Aug. 26, 2007),
30. I.P.A. Manning, Corrupt Use of Provisionally Alienated Customary Land. . ., Z
(August 14, 2007), http://zambialandsafe.blogspot.com/2007/08/
corrupt-use-of-provisionally-alienated.html. (Archived by WebCite
citation.org/5m9kBg7RT, search date 2009-12-20).
31. See generally Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the Commons, 162 S
. 1243 (1968).
, 182 (1990).
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202 NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL [Vol. 52
cure property rights to local communities.
However, while regulated
common-property regimes exist under usufruct, all customary land
outside of that is de facto open-access.
There is a view within institutional economics literature that com-
mon-property resources evolve towards private property once land be-
This may suggest that land should be privatized if the
tragedy of the commons
is to be avoided. While the lack of ownership
rights over renewable natural resources does encourage resident
to join in irresponsible harvesting, this should not encourage con-
version of customary areas to private property, i.e., alienation to
Open-access regimes greatly foster the natural human proclivity
of time preference; people prefer to consume now, rather than later.
Residents of the present customary commons are essentially subsistence
and peasant forage-farmers with the typically high time-preference rates
evident in pre-industrial societies. Encouraged by the absence of owner-
ship rights, it is extremely common to find instances of behavior that
show scant regard for future benefits: fruit trees being cut down for a
handful of fruit and the use of mosquito nets, as well as poison, to kill all
age classes of fish. Clearly, this is in part a function of the destruction of
traditional systems intended to manage natural resources. It is also a re-
sult of the removal of the authority of the chief over wildlife and the near
total decline of the traditional guardians of nature, such as hunting
guilds (aChiwinda). In short, it is a weakening of the authority, incentives,
and controls necessary for maintaining the customary commons.
Since attaining independence, the state has used the customary
commons and protected areas as sources of income from hunting conces-
sions and photo tourism leases—such that they all but resemble lease-
hold alienations. This is well-documented in other parts of the world for
forests that were once communal forests, and for inshore fisheries when
national agencies presumed that they had exclusive jurisdiction over all
cbnrm.net/pdf/bwalya_sm_001_zambiacbwm.pdf (last visited Nov. 25, 2011).
34. E.g., Jean-Marie Baland & Jean-Philippe Platteau, Division of the Commons: A Partial
Assessment of the New Institutional Economics of Land Rights, 80 A
. J. A
171 (2007) (describing the time preference
rate, which measures the strength of this preference as the percentage by which the amount
of consumption of a good next year must be higher than consumption this year for people
to be indifferent between consuming now rather or later).
, supra note 32, at 23 & 144. R
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Spring 2012] THE SOCIOECOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL 203
The current theory is that coercion or some other special device is
required to make rational self-interested individuals act to achieve their
common or group interest.
Chiefdoms largely disprove this theory.
Traditional authority does curb some
activity. However, it
has yet to overcome state eco-imperialism, capitalist raiders, crime syndi-
cates, and, in some cases, venal chiefs operating within an open-access
B. Uncertainty and the Growing Alienation of Customary Land
In 1985, the Ministry of Lands set out the procedure to alienate
customary land to a private person or body.
This was later incorporated
in the Lands Act. The Lands Act leant this substance.
However, if land
is alienated, and bankruptcy subsequently declared by the owners, the
land reverts to the state and not back to customary ownership.
All land is vested to the President, who cannot, according to the
Lands Act, alienate customary land unless it is with the consent of the
chief and local authority, and then only after consulting affected bod-
ies—in the case of GMAs, ZAWA.
The Zambian Constitution forbids
the compulsory seizure of state land (which includes leasehold land) or
of acquiring it in the absence of authority under the law. The Lands
(Compulsory Acquisition) Act allows the President to acquire any prop-
erty, i.e., leasehold land, supposedly in the public interest.
it is for agricultural development, the Constitution allows the President
to take or acquire state or customary land from its owner or occupier.
The state also has the right to carry out petroleum production.
though all petroleum is vested in the President,
for petroleum opera-
tions in GMAs, national parks and protected forests, it requires the
consent of ZAWA, the Department of Forestry and the chiefdoms in
which the GMAs and forests are contained.
The Minister may also de-
, supra note 32, at 6 (citing M
38. Administrative Circular No. 1, Procedure on Alienation: Introduction (1985), re-
printed in M
EVELOPMENT OF THE
63 (Jan. 13, 2003), available at http://
39. Lands Act No. 20 (1996) G
(Acts), at Part II.8.1 (Zam.).
40. Id. at Part II.4.
41. Lands Acquisition Act No. 13 (1994) G
(Acts), at Part II.3 (Zam.).
42. Id. at Part IV.17.1.
43. Lands Acquisition Act No. 13 (1994) G
44. Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act No. 10 (2008) G
at Part I.3.1 (Zam.)
45. Mines and Minerals Act No. 7 (2008) G
(Acts), at Part III.26.1 (Zam.).
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204 NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL [Vol. 52
clare an Environmentally Sensitive Area through statutory regulations
allowing local authorities to so declare any area environmentally sensi-
The powers of the President appear excessive. As Professor Han-
sungule in his report to the Zambian Land Alliance observed:
In his bid to pursue the ends of a comprehensive land policy,
the President can dispossess any occupier or owner of land,
including the Chief, who enjoys rights in that land and person
claiming through and under them of the rights in that piece of
land. It is remarkable these extensive provisions have not been
used before by successive Presidents in customary areas. Nev-
ertheless, the policy theme behind the clause is that in the in-
terests of the public, the State should have higher hierarchy
than the individual or even group of people as in customary
In theory, customary law does not give chiefs the same powers; the chief
can only request a landholder to return land to customary authority.
Land may also be alienated to foreign investors (subject to the
normal processes and procedures) who obtain an investment certificate
from the Zambia Development Agency within the Ministry of Com-
With suitable investment pledges in an application, the Ministry
may issue an investment certificate to a noncitizen.
pledges that make possible the alienation are rarely enforced.
The Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP), which commenced
in 2006 and concluded in 2011, was a medium term planning instrument
intended to focus government policy. Where land was concerned, it con-
centrated on the issue of attaining land, saying little about customary
land and the culturally grounded rights of its people.
The plan also
failed to respond to the House of Chiefs
statement to the FNDP work-
We should be allowed to retain absolute title to our land
while giving investors and non-subjects renewable lease rights under va-
rious chiefdom trusts.
And then where is the value system? A Plan that is tailored to
work in Zambia should articulate Zambia
s values. The title
46. Environmental Management Act No. 12 (2011) G
(Acts), at Part
EPORT TO THE
48. Zambia Development Agency Act No. 11 (2006) G
(Acts), at Part
49. Id. at Part X.69.
(2006), available at http:/
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Spring 2012] THE SOCIOECOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL 205
deed, which the Plan advocates proposes to fast-track land de-
livery, is good but it is still not the main value system to the
majority of people in Zambia. Most people still share land and
therefore de-emphasis individuality which is why there is rel-
ative security in the country. Even as they develop and adopt
new ideas and systems, a Plan should plan for people based
on their civilization. You can
t impose alien ideas on people
and expect to succeed. There is serious need to contextualize
the Plan so that it can reflect the society it is going to operate.
It must not only aim to attract money as the sole motive for the
land reform. More than that, to create, recreate and deepened
the value system in land as in society generally as the primary
The Land Alliance, a civil society organization made up of a num-
ber of NGOs, weighed in with the following:
In relation to the over ambitious aim to promote title deeds in
rural areas, the policy should consider leasing of land under
customary tenure system directly without first converting
such land to the state land. Such lands must continue to be in
the hands of traditional rulers without the local communities
losing their customary rights to the leased land. Failure to do
this could perpetuate whole selling of agricultural land by
speculators to the rich minority, as has been the experience in
the last seven (7) years under the 1995 Lands Act.
There have been many delays in the lands policy, in part because
the Ministry of Lands was waiting for finalization of the ongoing consti-
tution review process before proceeding to adopt draft land policy.
tunately, the proposed Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill 2010
did not receive the mandatory two-thirds majority in the National As-
sembly in March 2011, as it would have greatly compromised the secur-
ity of customary land. However, it did delay the issue of the Lands
Policy, now awaiting action by the Patriotic Front government.
C. Problems Arising from Game Management Areas (GMA)
The Wildlife Act makes certain legal assumptions about the con-
trol of GMAs and customary land.
These assumptions contradict cus-
, supra note 47 at 18. R
APER ON THE
53. E-mail from Henry Machina, Executive Director, Zambia Land Alliance to author
(May 18, 2009, 16:15) (on file with author).
54. Zambia Wildlife Act No. 12, supra note 2. R
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206 NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL [Vol. 52
tomary law, the Lands Act of 1995, and such traditional practices under
common law as contracts of agistment,
whereby owners of livestock are
obliged to rent grazing rights. Few management plans of any substance
have been forthcoming for GMAs and national parks under ZAWA
ZAWA, as the
of wildlife, pays no agistment or rental for
its game animals that feed on customary land, though it extracts conces-
sion rentals and game trophy fees from the same animal stocks. Origi-
nally, ZAWA paid half of all hunting concession and trophy fees to
CRBs, but an ad hoc ZAWA committee later reduced concession fees to
20 percent—in both cases 5 percent going to the chief. At a meeting in
late 2006, CRBs and ZAWA agreed to share income equally. ZAWA has
not honored this agreement.
The state of biodiversity in GMAs has seriously deteriorated
under ZAWA and the MMD government with increasing brittleness of
rangelands, deterioration in carrying capacity, and greatly diminished
wildlife and forests.
Critically, the people of GMAs are denied owner-
ship or proper access to the benefits of the natural resources on their
customary land, and are criminalized in their subsistence hunting.
A report on GMAs summarized its findings as follows:
This report paints and alarming picture of Zambia
s GMAs in
terms of economical, sociological and ecological benefits.
Chapter 2 reveals that the commercial flow to GMAs is proba-
bly decreasing. Chapter 3 illustrates that natural habitats and
wildlife are decreasing at an alarming rate in most GMAs.
Chapter 4 shows that GMA communities are 30 percent poorer
than the average Zambian rural communities. Chapter 5
shows that 31 out of 36 GMAs fail to meet the requirements
for minimum management effectiveness.
Whilst mandated to protect a very large protected area estate, ZAWA
had since 2001 spent a mere 7–18 percent of its total expenditure on op-
, supra note 20. R
56. I.P.A. Manning, Chief Kasempa Complains of the Lack of Benefits from Tourism in His
(Feb. 4, 2007), http://zambiaconservation.blogspot.com/
2007/02/chief-kasempa-complains-of-lack-of.html. (Archived by WebCite
www.webcitation.org/68pLtapuA, search date 2012-07-01).
: A N
IMASIKU ET AL
vii (2008), available
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Spring 2012] THE SOCIOECOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL 207
erations, i.e., biodiversity research and protection.
over the three years 2003 to 2005 the HQ budget in-
creased by 46%, while the global regional office and AMU budgets
(where the real work is done) decreased by 4% and 19%, respectively.
Furthermore, the rural elite capture—by way of travel allowances,
accommodation, and meeting stipends—most of the money received by
CRBs from ZAWA.
In the midst of this corruption, most CRBs remain
unpaid. In May 2009, for example, the Nyalugwe and Luembe CRBs,
with 41 Village Scouts, were owed 14 months
salary on average.
of them had waited more than three years to be paid. Therefore, ZAWA
and the CRBs are a significant factor in this poverty differential.
Of concern in Zambia is the plight of women in general, and wid-
ows in particular, with 28 percent of GMA households being female-
headed compared to 22 percent in non-GMAs. Female-headed house-
holds living near national parks on average enjoy 19 percent less per
capita consumption than male-headed households.
In addition, land
grabbing is a pernicious custom, whereby on the death of her husband, a
woman is descended upon by her husband
s family and other parasites
and divested of land and chattels. A revolutionary socioecological
change in GMAs is necessary in order for the customary community to
see any improvement in its life prospects. Conservation of wildlife and
other natural resources must be part of a sustainable solution.
D. Strategies for Customary Community Resource Ownership
Given the threat to the customary commons, it is essential that
customary communities court cabinet offices and make inputs into par-
liamentary subcommittees to regain natural resource ownership on their
However, customary communities are presently incapable of
49–51 (2006). The per-
centage allocated to operations greatly increased in the final Changa report, though there is
no explanation for this change. I.P.A. M
, A B
OMMENT OF THE
EVIEW OF THE
1) 63 (Nov. 3, 2006).
, A P
15 (2006), available at http://www.aec.msu.edu/fs2/
IMASIKU ET AL
., supra note 58, at 17–19. R
62. Letter from Nkhoma Goods Andrew of ZAWA/SLAMU Nyimba CBNRM Unit to
The ZAWA/SLAMU Unit Leader (May 26, 2009) (discussing salary arrears in respect of
Luembe and Nyalugwe CRBs) (on file with author).
IMASIKU ET AL
., supra note 58, at 20. R
. & S
. (CONASA), P
EVIEW OF THE
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208 NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL [Vol. 52
taking on this role. To do so would require a large funded program with
considerable political and legal force. The secretary general of the Patri-
otic Front Party suggested that the author assist in the formation of a
foundation dedicated to rural development, one having the mission of
reviving and protecting the Zambian cultural heritage in areas of land,
participatory community development, and sustained natural resource
Such a mechanism may assist Zambia in avoiding such eventuali-
ties as the 1994 Zapatista movement in Mexico that fought the alienation
of the peasant commons (the ejido) and the awarding of land to agribusi-
ness. The legacy of the Zapatista movement revealed two irrefutable
facts: 1) power should not be concentrated at government level, merely
changing hands between political elites at election time; and 2) it is fool-
ish to expect government to hand down power of its own accord.
III. THE EVOLUTION OF LANDSAFE
The Landsafe model developed from an earlier model, developed
by the author, called the Chipuna. This was a simple investment mecha-
nism model symbolized by the traditional African stool (Chipuna in
Bemba) with three legs representing the chief, the community, and the
investor. The Landsafe model subsequently emerged. The principal
objectives of Landsafe are to safeguard customary land and its associated
protected areas, as well as to conserve wildlife and natural resources for
the benefit of the chiefdom. To achieve this, it is first necessary to create
chiefdom institutions into which to vest land. These institutions may also
enter into contracts with the government over land and renewable natu-
ral resources, in conformity with a number of laws.
All other objectives
concern the incremental raising of living standards while respecting na-
tional culture and traditions. A critical aspect of the Landsafe model is to
safeguard and utilize trust funds under common agreement.
20–21 (2002), available at www.rm
65. Interview with Wynter Kabimba, Secretary General of the Patriotic Front Party of
Zambia (Feb. 23, 2010).
: A J
OURNEY TO THE
EART OF THE
67. See The Fisheries Act (1974) G
(Acts) (Zam.); Fisheries (Amended) Act
(Acts) (Zam.). See also Forestry Act No. 39 (1973) G
(Acts) (Zam.); Forestry Policy (1998) G
(Pol,y.) (Zam.); Forestry Act No. 7
(Acts) (Zam.); Local Forests (Control and Management) Regulations
No. 47 (2006) G
(Stat.) (Zam.); Lands Act (1995) G
Water Act (1948) G
(Acts) (Zam.); and Zambia Wildlife Act No. 12 (1998)
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Spring 2012] THE SOCIOECOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL 209
A. Categorization of Stakeholders in Landsafe Chiefdom
Following a community
s preparation and provision of a land-use
plan, the community may draw up and make available specific and ap-
propriate development options for investors. In addition, donor assis-
tance on specific needs requirements is invited, but at the micro level and
working through the statutory community structure. In order for Land-
safe to advance, it is important to describe clearly the hierarchy of stake-
holders involved in the process. The most important are primary
stakeholders—the chief, the headmen, and the customary community it-
self. They are then followed by a secondary stakeholder group compris-
ing the appropriate government ministries and departments.
categories are then complemented by the key stakeholders, who have
direct responsibility for developing and implementing an area develop-
This group might also describe formally established institu-
tions formed amongst the local population, which have as their main
interest conservation and development of their area.
B. Statutory Institutions Supporting Primary Stakeholders
To both protect land from alienation and to ensure responsible
use of natural resources on customary land, it is necessary to form statu-
tory community institutions for collective action. The establishment of a
cooperative is an entry-level legal mechanism for binding a small or
large group of people having a similar intent and interest, one not neces-
sarily bound up with the sale and purchase of goods.
However, a com-
munity should ideally form a society under the Societies Act, Chapter
119. A society must be drawn from the customary community itself, with
its elected representatives sitting as members. Registration of a society in
a rural area requires a written endorsement for the society application
from the Chief, the District Community Development Officer, the Dis-
trict Secretary, the Zambia Police, and the security division of the Office
of the President.
The society may then be converted to a statutory trust.
There are two options available to a customary authority. The first op-
tion is to create a trust under the Lands Act. Under this option, the Min-
68. Zacharia J.U. Malley et al., Environmental Change and Vulnerability in the Usangu
Plain, Southwestern Tanzania: Implications for Sustainable Development, 14 I
. & W
. 145, 157–58 (2007) (discussing processes of policy formation and de-
70. See generally, The Co-Operative Societies Act (1998) G
71. A requirement enforced
under the MMD government. Societies
Act (1994) G
(Acts), at Part II (Zam.).
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210 NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL [Vol. 52
ister of Lands formalizes the trust once a society petitions the minister
for incorporation of a society as a trust. The second option is to register a
trust company limited by guarantee, where formalization is by registra-
tion under the Companies Act. Such a trust should have a suitable con-
stitution, which draws up to ten trustees from the chiefdom community,
creates a trust fund, and appoints auditors.
IV. THE FORMALIZATION AND IMPLEMENTATION
Results of a recent survey provide support for the Landsafe ap-
This survey argued for recognition of a community structure as
the holder of devolved rights.
It also concluded that negotiations be-
tween state and traditional authorities are necessary to confer the status
of the community structure, as
holder[ ] of land and resource rights,
subject to agreed conditions.
It made clear that:
This does not imply
alienation of customary land but formalizing such an allocation of land
through a legal document.
Persuading chiefs and their people of the merits of a particular
approach to development offering greater control of their resources, as
well as some protection for investors, is a slow and arduous process. The
culmination of this process is the signing of contracts of agreement. The
first contract is the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU)
between the customary authority, the District Council, and a facilitator
for the implementation of a Landsafe development. The second is the
establishment of a chiefdom or community society, followed by that of a
trust. The third is the signing of a CMA between the trust and govern-
ment ministries responsible for water, fisheries, forestry, and wildlife.
A. Land Vestment and User Rights
A society under Zambian law has no legal capacity to hold land.
Therefore, when a community wishes to vest land, it must, following the
registration of a society by the Registrar of Societies, establish a trust and
have the certificate of incorporation registered in the Registry of Deeds
and upon registration then
vest in such body corporate all land or any
72. See D
38 (2008), available at
73. Id. at 17.
74. Id. at 19.
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Spring 2012] THE SOCIOECOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL 211
interest therein, of what nature and tenure soever, belonging to or held
by any person or persons in trust for such community, body or associa-
tion of persons.
Before a Trust is registered with the Registrar of Lands
and Deeds it requires prior exemption from registration by the Registrar
In the case of the Nyalugwe Conservation Society, the minister
was petitioned to vest customary land in the Nyalugwe Conservation
Trust under the Lands (perpetual succession) Act. The minister first
studied the details of the land and the purpose for which it was required,
and then approved it and allowed it to be registered with the Registrar of
Lands and Deeds.
The Nyalugwe land was not alienated to 99-year
leasehold, but placed under the the trust in perpetuity. This trust is now
able to assign the land-user rights.
Should investors wish to make use of the land and natural re-
sources of the chiefdom under their management and development
plans, they may enter into a land-user rights re-assignment agreement
with the community trust. The land-user rights process requires that the
trust—as holder of land and rights to co-manage renewable natural re-
sources—provide the overall land use and business plans for the
chiefdom. The trust may then enter into leases and business concessions
with investors. To develop a business, investors are required to tender a
business proposal to the trust, which will lead to the compilation of a full
business plan. If the intention of a chief or a trust is simply to assign
land-user rights to investors, then ZAWA is not involved at all in open
areas, only in GMAs.
B. Co-Management Agreements
For trusts to sign CMAs with the state over wildlife, they need to
first elect and register a CRB for that chiefdom. The Wildlife Act pro-
vides the statutory process for registration of a CRB.
On application to
conduct game ranching on vested land, ZAWA will carry out its own
ecological and social surveys. The latter is a sample of the views of the
population in order to assure ZAWA that enough headmen and villagers
are in favor of the scheme. In addition, this will require the CRB/trust to
(2002) (on file with author).
77. Land (Perpetual Succession) Act (1964) G
(Acts), at Part III.1 (Zam.).
78. Zambia Wildlife Act No. 12, supra note 2, at Part III.6.3 & Part III.9.1. R
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212 NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL [Vol. 52
provide a game management plan based on the ZAWA template. If safari
hunting is an option, then a trust can apply for a quota.
2. Game Management Areas
To formalize a CMA in a GMA, a trust may take several ap-
proaches. It could either:
• Sign a CMA with CRB/ZAWA for the management of a GMA
wildlife in the chiefdom and the retention of full tourism use; or
• Vest the GMA in a chiefdom trust and follow the procedure
required for a community game ranch; or
• Follow the procedure for a Community Partnership Park by ap-
plying to ZAWA (not recommended as this is much the same procedure
as followed by chiefdoms in colonial times when trust land was con-
verted to game reserve and national park).
One of these approaches is essential if the community is to maintain the
socioecological integrity of customary land, whilst allowing the state, for
a bridging period only, to derive income.
3. National Parks
Where the chiefdom adjoins a protected area, that chiefdom,
through its community structures, should persuade the state to agree to
a flow of benefits to the chiefdom. Chiefs originally agreed to this during
the process of converting trust land into game reserve and national
Formalization, therefore, requires a CMA between the trust and
4. Local Forests and Unprotected Forest on Customary Land
Statutory Instrument No. 47 of 2006 lays out regulations for a
CMA known under forestry as Joint Forest Management Areas (JFMA).
These regulations require the creation of forest trusts for proposed
JFMAs. Each forest trust requires a forest committee, which comprises
representatives of the chief, the local forest office, the District Council,
and one representative of each village committee—the latter comprising
the headman, a representative of the user group and a forestry officer.
The regulations require the village committee to: 1) advise the forestry
officer on the issue of licenses; 2) appoint honorary forest rangers; and 3)
elect members to the forest management committee. The statutory in-
strument defines no such committee. Though the Forest Act defines the
, Wild Life in an African Territory: A Study Made for the Game
and Tsetse Control Department of Northern Rhodesia 128 (1960).
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Spring 2012] THE SOCIOECOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL 213
term, it is still subject to a commencement order from the minister.
JFMAs are bound to the Forestry Department and the trust through a
CMA, which allows for management of forestry, licensing, and income
under its control. The trust may also make application to the Forest
Stewardship Council for certification.
5. National Forests
In national forests, the trust must sign a CMA with the Forestry
Department in the form of a Joint Forest Management Agreement,
though this requires the issuance of a commencement order by the min-
ister in order for the new Forests Act to be enacted.
An interim coopera-
tive arrangement should be possible in light of the prescriptions of
Statutory Instrument No.47 of 2006, which lays out regulations for Joint
Forest Management Areas.
The community trust applies to the Fisheries Department for a
fisheries management area CMA, the declaration of a fisheries manage-
ment area, and recognition of an elected fisheries management commit-
The minister ratifies these subject to consultation with the trust or/
and riparian communities involved. The committee is responsible for the
production of the management plan and the creation of a fund to pay all
license money beneficial to the economic and social well-being of the ri-
parian community. The committee must prepare an annual report and
submit audited accounts to the minister. Members of the committee com-
prise six villagers, one chief
s representative, one district council repre-
sentative, one from a NGO operating in the area, one each from the
fishing industry and aquaculture industry, and two other persons, vetted
by the minister. The minister also appoints the chairman and vice-chair-
man. In consultation with the director, the fisheries management com-
mittee may enter into CMAs with industrial fishing companies, or with
NGOs. Aquaculture ventures must be licensed and operate only under
certain conditions. To formalize a fishery, the trust must apply to the
Forestry Department for a Fisheries Management Area CMA in the form
of an MOU.
81. Forests Act (1999) G
(Acts), at Part V.26 (Zam.).
82. Id. at Part V.35.
83. See, Fisheries Bill (2011) G
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214 NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL [Vol. 52
A trust may enter into a CMA with the Department of Water Af-
fairs, or the catchment council when established, so that the chiefdom
may best manage its water resources. Currently, Water Affairs plans to
create catchment and sub-catchment councils.
The trust may sign a
CMA with the Department of Water Affairs to provide basic water man-
agement plans. Any water project applications submitted to the Water
Board should be guided by the plan.
C. Appointment of Chiefdom Advisory Committees
As the Landsafe model evolves under field conditions, it is impor-
tant to test its assumptions. Trusts formed under perpetual succession
require an advisory committee, as the trust itself is a wholly community
organization set up under the Ministry of Lands. Where trusts fall under
the Companies Act, they already partially mirror the proposed advisory
committee due to representation on the trust by the District Council as
well as the CRB. The Customary authority and the District Council
should appoint advisory committee members from all stakeholders.
They should comprise national and district members.
The expected outcomes of the Landsafe model are fivefold. First,
the model will enable a chiefdom to operate securely as a functioning
customary commons in which the land is sacrosanct. Second, it will
guarantee usufruct rights of both men and women. Third, it will support
collective land-use agreements over common-access rights. Fourth, it
will allow for exploitation of renewable natural resources and mineral
mining only under CMA land vested by the customary authority. Fi-
nally, it will place investors, foreign aid, and NGOs under the control of
a land-use plan and a properly institutionalized customary commons.
84. Water Resources Management Act (2011) G
(Acts), at Part III.17