Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Lilongwe City Council must act on Saulos Chilima’s order


Nobody prepares for disaster, which is why we always sympathise with those who fall victim to calamity.

It is also indisputable that, of late, emergency situations have become commonplace, partly due to climate change and partly due to artificial circumstances created by people.

One of the things that have become an undesirable weight on our heads is that of floods. In the past, the Lower Shire was synonymous with floods.


In the end, the pattern of floods became predictable, to the extent that some well-wishers started backing down, after getting suspicious that, perhaps, the Lower Shire people were used to hand-outs. To make matters worse, the people themselves were reluctant to relocate, arguing that they could not abandon their ancestors’ graves.

Over the past three years, floods have started affecting areas hitherto considered safe. We are talking of areas such as Mtandire in Lilongwe, where floods wreaked havoc last year. As you are reading this, some of the victims of the floods have expressed anger over failure by the authorities to fulfill promises.

Just yesterday, the country woke up to the sad news that Lingadzi River flooded again, destroying property worth millions. We feel for the victims of the floods. We know that no one prepares for disaster.


At the same time, we feel that, sometimes, we expose ourselves to danger. For example, while the country has city and town plans, some people go about constructing houses and other infrastructure in areas not designated for settlement.

In this regard, we agree with Vice-President Saulos Chilima that it is high time we took appropriate action. It baffles us that, sometimes, even when it is clear that procedures have been flouted, our leaders leave things to chance and behave as if this is a lawless country. Perhaps leaders fail to do the right thing because they are looking for votes.

A few years ago, under the administration of the late Bingu wa Mutharika, some cities introduced the Red Star campaign. The initiative gathered steam at the time, only to falter along the way.

The other day, Blantyre Water Board compensated those who were illegally farming on its land.

Of late, Blantyre City Council has been failing to chase those who have illegally settled on the foot of Soche Hill, even after the people have been offered land to settle on elsewhere. To make matters worse, some of the illegal settlers have challenged the City Fathers, vowing to die on the pieces of land they do not own.

This seems to be the case in Lilongwe, too, where some people continue to defy Lilongwe City Council’s (LCC) orders to relocate. In the end, when disasters such as floods hit, it is the nation that pays the price.

Moving forward, those responsible must bring this state of lawlessness to an end by relocating people who have constructed houses in undesignated areas. We can no longer afford to reward lawlessness. We believe this time the LCC will not allow politicians to stand in its way; otherwise, Chilima’s order would mean nothing.

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