We all knew about this


The hullabaloo that has engulfed the nation about how land is administered in this country is almost fake and hypocritical on the part of all of us.

We all know that land administration, just like other sectors of the economy, is mired in corruption and it is almost impossible for a common poor Malawian to access land because it is way beyond their financial reach.

Instead, it is only the rich, and mostly foreigners, under the guise of investment to comply with the law, that get all the best land in Malawi.


Parliament started it all in line with its constitutional oversight function.

Its various committees have been busy lately calling on various government departments to appear before them.

It was during the Legal Affairs Committee meeting with Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development when Principal Secretary Joseph Mwandidya revealed that his ministry is infested with corruption.


In the course of the meeting, Member of Parliament for Lilongwe City South West Nancy Tembo asked what the ministry was doing on the rampant and indiscriminate sale of land in cities and towns, specifically Livimbo School in Area 2 where she was told that students and teachers are told to vacate the land to pave the way for warehouses built by a Malawian of the Asian origin.

Since then, there has been carnage with revelations of more land belonging to schools, especially in Lilongwe, that has been sold dubiously.

Simply put, a lot is going on to the question of land in Malawi and, at the end of it all, an average Malawian does not afford land in his or her own country.

As means of production, are we using this as a resource well that is only affordable to the rich and yet, more often than not, it is foreigners who have the wherewithal to buy land in Malawi under the ruse of investment?

It is not surprising that, so far, the discussion seems to be centred on the fact that more often than not the buyers of this controversial land are Malawians of Asian origin.

But would the matter be different if Malawians of Malawian origin were involved? Is this bordering on xenophobia?

The answer is a hell no.

It does not matter who is involved and the issue is about misuse, corruption and misallocation of land in Malawi.

Land Ministry is at the centre of it all, as it should be, and there are allegations that there are in fact parallel structures corruptly allocating plots in Malawi.

The question that has not been answered is: What is the extent of all this?

Mwandidya conceded that his ministry is infested with corruption and ordinarily he should be a hero.

Mwandidya deserves a medal of commendation and certainly not blame.

Yet I cannot help it but point out that he is now a controlling officer of the ministry and he is paid to keep an eye on things and solve problems under his command in the ministry.

After the candid confession and concession he made to the parliamentarians, it is time to cut out the rot he pinpointed.

Certainly, it will not be an easy task because some powers that be will try to frustrate him as they will wrongly think that he has embarrassed government by accepting that there is rot in the very same ministry that he is heading as a controlling officer.

Some commentators say the only solution to this problem is to do a national land audit and there is merit in such a noble call.

This is what Mwandidya should be thinking at the moment if, at all, he wants to be taken seriously in his mission to stem the rot and clean up the ministry after he made a confession there is malfeasance.

On paper, we passed laws governing land in Malawi that included committees being responsible for some land decisions.

The laws also included the conditions under which foreigners can buy public land for investment.

Sadly, the new laws have done nothing to bring sanity on the land issue as the latest shenanigans show.

It appears the laws were useless and enacted to please donors and foreigners in the gallery.

The foreigners are, in fact, abusing the land. They are erecting ugly warehouses and other outdated buildings and no one seems to care about anything.

There are no architectural standards on land use with ugly buildings put up everywhere on prime land in our cities.

The prime land is being wasted by the foreigners as they put up buildings equated to tobacco barns instead of high-rise edifices that Malawians see even right here in other African countries.

There is nothing to write home about the skyline of our cities as there is no planning.

Malawians are left mouth agape as who in government can put a stop to this.

There is no news that there is chaos in the land administration in this country and that now even public land that has schools and other public institutions is being sold

We all knew about this and it is sad for this country.

One day, we shall indeed learn that we have all been sold out.

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