Mozambique NGO questions allocation of land in Palma without hearing communities

Image: VOA Portugues

The NGO Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) accused the Mozambican government of allocating 12,000 hectares of land in Palma district, Cabo Delgado, to a public entity without consulting communities “taking advantage of the conflict and the absence of communities in Palma”.

“In a context of conflict affecting northern Cabo Delgado, the government approved the request for allocation of 12,000 hectares of land located in Palma in favour of the Cabo Delgado Economic Development Promotion Centre (CPD), an unknown public entity created in May 2021 and whose attributions and competences are confused with the mandate of the Integrated Development Agency of the North (ADIN),” said a statement issued on Monday (23) by the non-governmental organisation (NGO).

“The approval of the provisional DUAT in favour of the CPD was not preceded by a public consultation with affected communities, as required by land legislation. That public consultation could not take place due to the conflict that forced the people of Palma to leave their origin areas,” reads the CDD statement.

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The granting of the Right of Land Use and Exploitation to the CPD was announced last Tuesday by the spokesperson for the Mozambican Council of Ministers, Filimão Suaze.

“Only a consultation process with the communities can determine that that area of land attributed to the CPD of Cabo Delgado is free and has no occupants, which is unlikely,” the CDD points out.

The organisation pointed out that the lack of a public consultation on the process of land allocation in Mozambique constituted a flagrant violation of the Land Law.

“The approval of the provisional authorisation in favour of the CPD was not preceded by a public consultation of the affected communities, as required by the legislation on land,” the report states.

The CDD considers the entity receiving that extension of land as “hitherto unknown to the general public” and with attributions that are “confused” with those of the the Integrated Development Agency of the North (ADIN), an institution that the Mozambican government created to respond to social and economic causes considered part of the factors that facilitate the recruitment of young people by armed groups that have terrorised Cabo Delgado since 2017.

The allocation of an extensive area of land to the CPD without due public consultation with the affected communities in Palma comes at a time when several studies point to land expropriation as one of the causes that led to violent extremism in Cabo Delgado, notes the analysis.

Still, according to the CDDIt “it is clear that the CPD of Cabo Delgado does not have the institutional and financial capacity to explore 12,000 hectares, so this area will have to be parcelled out in the future and allocated to various private entities with interests in the natural gas projects in Palma”.

Despite attempts, Lusa could not hear any of the entities that were the targets of the CDD accusations.

Cabo Delgado province is rich in natural gas but has been terrorised since 2017 by armed rebels, with some attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.

There are 784,000 internally displaced people due to the conflict, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and around 4,000 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project.

Since July 2021, an offensive by government troops, with support from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has allowed areas where there was a rebel presence to recover.

Source: Lusa

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