About 50 people have dragged Mzuzu City Council (MCC) to court for alleged contempt of court, after council officials and police officers demolished their houses at Nambo-Area 4 in the city on September 10,
Lawyer for the applicants Leonard Mbulo confirmed the development, saying hearing of the matter is set for October 13, 2021.
MCC, through its spokesperson McDonald Gondwe, said in an interview Friday whatever the council did was within the confines of the law.
The council is accusing the people of encroaching on government land, where houses for police officers are set to be constructed by Malawi Housing Corporation.
But Mbulo said MCC proceeded to demolish his clients’ structures despite being served with default judgment of October 19, 2020 which he said the council never challenged.
In the October order which we have seen, the court, among others, ruled that: “The claimants are
entitled to peaceful use, possession and enjoyment of the land at Nambo in the area of Traditional Authority Kampingo Sibande.”
Mbulo said they want the council to compensate his clients among which include President Lazarus Chakwera’s Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and National Building Reverend Maurice Munthali.
“We are applying before the court for an order of committal for contempt of court against Mr Yona Simwaka, a Town Planning Officer at Mzuzu City Council, and Regional Commissioner of Police Richard Luhanga… it is our expectation that government officials should be exemplary in obeying court orders but what these two did is setting a very bad precedent and its really very sad,” Mbulo said.
But Gondwe reiterated that all court matters were dealt with accordingly. He confirmed that the council was served with the default judgement in question, adding MCC followed all due processes before acting.
Northern Region Police Deputy spokesperson Maurice Chapola refused to comment on the matter, saying it was not their mission but were just asked to escort council officials. Munthali, who is also Malawi Congress Party spokesperson, said what happed is a big blow and major drawback on him and the affected others, decrying tough economic times.
Mbulo said his clients lost over K160 million from the action.