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HRDC threatens demo over land grab

TALKING TOUGH—Sembereka (right)

Gospel Kazako

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has threatened to use different means, including demonstrations if need be, to jolt government into action on, among other issues, alleged dubious sale and change of ownership of land by some public officials and politicians.

Led by its Chairperson, Gift Trapence, HRDC held a press briefing in Lilongwe yesterday where it highlighted four major issues which include alleged corruption in the Ministry of Lands, monopoly in the business sector and the dubious recruitment of some civil servants.

The organisation has therefore called on the government to computerise the land management system.

Trapence emphasized that HRDC remains independent, indicating that if it is noted that authorities are failing to address the issues being raised, they will not hesitate to organise demonstrations.

“We are concerned that there is more still happening in that ministry [of Lands] and that even people who perpetuated some of the ills are still there. We want to highlight the fact that we want changes to happen as soon as possible,” HRDC executive member, Macdonald Sembereka, said.

On the monopoly of business, HRDC has given an example of the fuel hauling business where it argues that most of the contracts have been awarded to foreign companies.

On civil service, HRDC said the service still has individuals who were recruited dubiously without undergoing interviews and as such, something has to be done.

“We understand government processes are complicated and complex…but there are other things that should have been dealt with as urgently as possible, especially things that are straight forward,” Sembereka added.

Government spokesperson Gospel Kazako said they will be able to provide a comprehensive feedback after getting hold of HRDC’s statement.

HRDC initiated a whistleblowing initiative in which it asked the public to furnish it with any information of alleged corruption in the country.

Land issues have become contentious and have been under intense scrutiny since in recent years.

Not long ago, activists also intervened after it transpired that some people had encroached into public school land in Lilongwe.

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