By Deogratias Mmana:
When a video clip circulated recently of Lilongwe City Council staff pulling down a fence around a property, reportedly belonging to Malawi Defence Force Commander General Vincent Nundwe, it was an act considered so daring against Malawi’s top soldier.
But the top soldier was in breach of the law and he had to face the consequences.
Nundwe confirmed in an interview with Malawi News Friday that the demolition was indeed on his property.
And in a thinly veiled way, he admitted that the law had been breached in the construction of the fence.
“We are resolving the matter with the city council,” he said.
The Lilongwe City Council Planning Committee had issued a stop notice to Nundwe on August 27, 2021 asking him to stop constructing a brick fence beyond the official plot boundary on plot number 43/1015 in Lilongwe Area 43.
According to the stop notice No 2021-08-208, Nundwe was given 30 days to appeal the stop notice if he feels aggrieved.
“You are hereby, in accordance with Section 59 (1) of the Act (Physical Planning Act No.17 of 2016) required to stop construction activities and demolish the structure under construction,” read the notice, signed by Lilongwe City Council Chief Executive Officer John Chome.
The notice, with file number LCC/Plan/DC/58 added: “If you are aggrieved by this stop notice you may appeal against it to the Planning Council within thirty days from the date of this notice is served on you.”
The notice further said: “For avoidance of any doubt, if you ignore this stop notice you will be guilty of offence under Section 98 of the Act. Dated this 27 day of August.”
According to Certificate of Service, the notice was served on Nundwe on August 27, 2021.
In interview Friday, the city’s mayor Juliana Kaduya also confirmed the demolition.
She added that there are many structures that have been demolished, a campaign that will see more of such illegal structures being destroyed.
“For the General, it was half of the fence. Others it is complete buildings that have been demolished. Next week, we are demolishing many structures in the city. We are just following the law,” she said.
On illegal structures in area such as Dudu and Area 49, she said some officers at the council have been fired for collecting bribes from owners of the illegal structures.
“For the Dudu area, we have fired three officers and we have issued letters of dismissal for two officers for the Area 49 case,” said Kaduya.
She warned officers at the council against entertaining illegal structures.
Earlier in the week, the city’s Chief Executive Officer John Chome told The Daily Times that there are many buildings in the city which should not have been constructed in the first place.
Chome blamed architects for approving some of the buildings which he said are on prime sites.
“Mistakes were made in the past and we have learned from those mistakes. We have put several measures in place so that we should not make the same mistakes.
“The city council has revamped the town planning committee that has professionals sitting on it now as compared to the past when it had incompetent people, with mostly politicians dominating the committee. Before any construction, this committee has to look into it,” Chome said.
He admitted that the council’s architects also failed to give proper designs for the structures which have become an eyesore.
“In this country there are laws which govern which buildings can be built by what construction; so many of the poor buildings in the country were constructed by contractors that were contracted at cheap labour.
“Many people run away from the construction companies that provide a good job opting for those with cheap labour thereby leading to poor constructions. This is a very critical issue for us as we want the best for the city,” he added.