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Lilongwe City Council demolishes shops

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BARELY a month after demolishing shops close to Lilongwe Bus Depot, Lilongwe City Council (LCC) on Friday night demolished more container shops that were operating opposite Bwaila Hospital.

The Sunday Times established that most affected structures were demolished following the damaged sewer pipe that connects from the hospital through to the newly built shops.

One of the affected businesspersons, Issac Kazanga, said they were not initially informed of the council’s decision, which he said was surprising as he was given a business license before setting up the business.

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“Yesterday [Friday] at around 10PM, I got information that the council had come to demolish the structures. They were giving two reasons. They said there is a sewer pipe that is broken and they want to identify the place. They also said the structures are illegal,” he said.

Kazanga claimed that it was the same council that has been renewing his business licenses while he has been paying city rates just like any business venture.

Another victim, Rabecca Magwila, whose glass-selling shop was also demolished, expressed shock with the development and said she has lost over K6 million.

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“My goods were worth K6.5 million. We didn’t sell even a quarter of the goods. Once you push the container you don’t expect to rescue any glass. Everything is finished,” she complained.

Most of the victims allege that Lilongwe City Council is using the demolition exercise as a scapegoat, following criticisms that it allowed some high profile people, to put up businesses near the hospital. However LCC acting Chief Executive Officer Charles Makanga said yesterday that the demolished shops were blocking the flow of sewage pipes around the area.

“They built on top of sewer line and manhole cover and because of pressure it was being blocked. To make sure that it passes through easily, we have demolished the shops so that our engineers should work on the problem.

They initially went to court to get an injunction, it has expired,” he said.

Makanga admitted that the Council has failed to demolish other buildings currently under construction because of a court injunction that is not yet vacated.

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