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CSOs plot demonstrations over land saga

Give government 5-day ultimatum

ON GOVERNMENT’S NECK— Trapence

Civil society organisations (CSOs) under the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) banner have given the government five days to reverse sale of school land failing which the CSOs would lead Malawians to a wave of protests.

Last week, it was revealed that some Ministry of Lands “officials” sold part of Livimbo schools’ land in Lilongwe’s Area 2 to Ahmed Patel.

On Monday, more startling revelations were made by Legal Affairs and Education committees of Parliament that Chimutu, New Shire, Chilambula and Magwero schools in Lilongwe have also been encroached by developers in deals that are allegedly dubious.

In a statement released yesterday and signed by HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, and his deputy, Gift Trapence, the CSOs demand that the government takes action within five days.

“We at HRDC understand that the Livimbo land scandal is just but [a tip of] an iceberg of the rot that has infested the management, sale and distribution of public land in Malawi. We are dismayed but not surprised with revelations that those that we have entrusted with authority to manage land on our behalf are abusing these delegated powers with reckless abandon solely for their selfish and individual aggrandisement.

“Revelations indicate that besides the Livimbo land scandal, we [are] reliably informed that Magwero, Chimutu and New Shire schools are but some of the institutions that have also fallen victim of this malpractice. Similar revelations from Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs allege that public land in Limbe, including land belonging to Malawi Forest in Kanjedza, Area 43 in Lilongwe have been dubiously sold to either those that are politically connected or non- Malawians,” the statement reads.

The CSOs have, apart from threatening protests, called on the authorities to investigates culprits involved in the deals failing which they will demand the head of the Minister of Lands and Urban Development, Symon Vuwa- Kaunda.

“We demand an institution of an inquiry by Parliament Legal Affairs Committee to audit our land and bring all perpetrators to book.

“If these issues will not be resolved, we will have no option but to call for resignation of the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development,” the statement reads.

On Saturday last week, Vuwa- Kaunda confronted Patel and produced original maps to prove that the government still owns the lands.

However, on Monday, Vuwa- Kaunda claimed that he was not aware of some of the land deals as he had only been in the office for four months.

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