Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has shelved plans to hold demonstrations against the encroachment of school plots in Lilongwe.
Last week, On November 19, HRDC issued a five-day ultimatum to the Ministry of Land to reverse alleged selling of plots where schools namely Livimbo, Magwero, Chimutu and New Shire are located.
HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, however, said Monday the protests will be put on hold after getting an explanation from the government authorities.
Mtambo made the announcement after holding a meeting with the government officials. The meeting was meant to gather facts on the alleged selling of land.
“We have cancelled our plans to hold the demonstrations over Livimbo School land. We will be waiting for the next course of action from Lilongwe City Council [LCC] officials and Ministry of Lands to resolve what we have discovered that the school was encroached,” Mtambo said.
Surveyor General, Julius Chisi, explained to stakeholders that latest retracement survey conducted on November 22 2019 has shown that the school land was encroached.
He said his department will carry out retracement survey together with the owners of surrounding plots to determine the extent of the encroachment.
“We have identified the problem that was causing confusion surrounding the ownership of the school. We have found out that all along, plot Bwaila 2/239 was thought to be part of the school because it was enclosed within the school fence. However, the situation changed when new owners started developing the plot and consequently, a boundary conflict between the school and Malawians of Asian origin ensued,” Chisi said.
LCC Development Controlling Manager, Obvious Nyirenda, disclosed that the city is expected to demolish industrial warehouses which the council did not approve.
“The city council received an application from Yakubu Ibrahim Laheri and Irfan Mohamed Patel for a subdivision of plot 2/239 which was later divided into two land parcels 2/773 and 2/774 to Lilongwe City Council Planning Committee for a commercial development, which was granted. However, it was discovered that the developers went against their earlier plans of commercial development. Instead they have built industrial warehouses which the city never approved, therefore, the building is expected to be demolished,”Nyirenda said.
He said the building was supposed to be demolished two weeks ago, but the developers have obtained a court order against the council’s plans.
Lawyer representing the developers, Ismael Wadi, told journalists that he has written the council planning committee challenging their decision.
“There is an appeal that has been launched in order to seek the right interpretation as to whether a warehouse which will be used for keeping products can be described as industrial,” Wadi said.