Lawyer raises alarm over land policy

By:  Bullen Bala Alexander

A senior lawyer has raised concerns over the existing land policy in the country. James Altaib Jazz, the president of South Sudan Bar Association and a member of East African Law Society Council said it was high time for the legislature to make good laws that protect the interests of the citizens.

“I am not happy with the way we are administering land in South Sudan because this land which comprises the territory of the Republic of South Sudan was created by almighty God the creator and when it was diagnosed to be a South Sudanese land, it is not going to increase sometimes but it may decrease,” he said.

Altaib told Juba Monitor in an exclusive interview yesterday in Juba that since ancestral time, every generation has the right on the same piece of land of the Republic of South Sudan.

Altaib said the concerned authorities were not supposed to give more than one piece of land to one person. He said every citizen in the country deserves one piece of land from the government.

“Later on if you have your own money you can buy from others, which is your right but the government is supposed to give you one and should be given to any South Sudanese who is eligible and capable,” he said.

Altaib said the way the land was being administered was a total mismanagement of resource in the country.

“But the way we are administering the land where the land authority can give 50 or 100 plots of land to one person is totally a wrong land policy that needs to be addressed before generations get into big problem in future,” he said.

He said land is an important property which needs to be handled well, and if you keep on giving over 50 plots to one person at the same time he is poor he may end up selling the land to a rich person. He said it will be money owning the land and not community.

“In 10 years to come we will see only 3 to 10 people who have bought all the plots in Juba, our children will not be in position to get the money to go and buy again from that person and this is where the problems come in future,” he said.

“I am seeing it with the vast knowledge of land administration, I am seeing it, and as a lawyer who has practiced for more than 30 years I am seeing there is problem in South Sudan, I am seeing there is danger in the future between the generation to come and people who have the right on the lands because they have bought it from those whom the government have allotted randomly to them now,” Altaib reiterated.

He added that once a person sells his plot out either with small money or after you have finished the money, you have no right to come back to ask for it again.

“Our poor children who are the coming generation will have no space and they will go more than 100 or up to 200 miles away,” he said.

“As a lawyer of this country I am not totally happy with the land policy of this country because the right land policy is that any South Sudanese nationalist is supposed to be given one piece of land wherever he asked,” he stated.

He said if he or she takes here in Juba, he/she will not take it anywhere in any state in South Sudan because the land is one, unless that person has the money to buy it.

“When the land belongs to community it has to be managed by the authority not by the community themselves, this is how the land policy is to be. Yes, the land belongs to the community but the management of the land is given to an authority,” he said.

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