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National

Likoma District yet to be gazette

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Titus Mvalo

Likoma Island, which used to be part of Nkhata Bay District, was declared a standalone district in November 1999; however, the decision is yet to be gazetted.

This means establishment of the district, which has Likoma and Chizumulu Islands, was done by word of mouth and can legally be challenged.

Justice Minister Titus Mvalo said his ministry works on instructions from policyholders and, in this case, the Ministry of Local Government has not yet instructed them to do something about gazetting.

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“The gazetting of any matter is an initiative of the policyholder and, in this case, the Ministry of Local Government. The Ministry of Justice is a service ministry; it operates on instructions.

“If a ministry instructs us to gazette, we proceed to do so but we don’t work on our own on matters to do with gazetting. We do not work without getting their instructions. If we do so, they will question us as to ‘who authorised you to do so’?,” he said.

Commenting on the development, Local Government Minister Blessings Chinsinga admitted the delays but was quick to point out that they have started the processes.

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“Our technical team is working on this, which is why, during our engagements with various councils, I pointed out this issue. What the status means is that the districts were just declared by word of mouth without making the necessary arrangements to make sure that they are legally recognised,” he said.

Chinsinga could not be drawn to state what delayed the process but said he was equally surprised to learn that the district was in such a state, hence has put the necessary processes in motion.

Despite its breathtaking scenery, the island is not fully exploited for tourism that could boost not only the district’s economy but that of the whole country.

Among other things, Likoma’s 40 kilometre road network is yet to wear tarmac status and the place has no eye-catching structures apart from the old Likoma Anglican Church.

The two islands have a population of about 14,500 people.

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