Land scarcity retarding development in Chiradzulu

Land wrangles

Scarcity of land and geographical terrain are leading to slow pace in the implementation of development projects in Chiradzulu, authorities say.

Among others, the district is drastically faced by water shortages, food insecurity and education-related challenges.

A recent visit to one of the district’s constituencies (Chiradzulu East), showed that women continue walking long distances in search of potable water.

The visit also highlighted the absence of schools in walkable distances which makes it almost impossible for children to attend early learning as well as primary classes.

Speaking in an interview, Mariam Lameki of Stimoya village in the constituency said for a long time women have been struggling in finding safe water, adding the current sole borehole carters for four villages of Mkupu, Mikoche and Chikodya.

“We would have loved if our MP drilled us more boreholes to accord us safe water. Being a summer season, our nearby Mwanje stream has dried up, making it more difficult to access the much-needed commodity for basic use,” she said.

In concurrence, Chair for Chamdimbo Trading Centre, Peter Sinoya said the area is lagging behind in terms of development, citing lack of electricity, poor road networks (Chamdimbo-Mbulumbuzi road) as well as scarcity of water.

“Being a Trading Centre, we expected it to have electricity for economic activities. Again, this earth road has business potential, only if it were tarred,” he said, adding scarcity of water, is posing a huge health risk to their lives.

In an interview, DPP Constituency Governor Franco Kaliya, (who spoke on behalf of the incumbent MP, Henry Mussa), admitted the existence of the listed challenges, arguing land scarcity and geographical terrain (rocky), are the major factors.

Kaliya said: “We face a lot of challenges whenever we want to drill boreholes because the machines cannot reach the recommended 60 metres deep, due to rocks. The far the machines can go is 40 metres, a development which leads to intermittent water supply, once the borehole is drilled.

“Another thing is, we don’t have free land that can be allocated for development projects. We face problems in identifying such land because it belongs to people who usually ask for compensation,” he said.

Kaliya added that with the bottom-up approach of project implementation, Chiefs need to be sensitized on land issues for them to surrender it freely when such need arises.

He further observed that the issue of land scarcity will continue if the current high population growth is not tamed any time soon.

At this, he said the Roads Authority has this week inspected Mwanje-Mandota, Chisasiko-Makanani, James-Namulepwese, Masanjala-Mauwa and Chandimbo-Mbulumbuzi roads for upgrading soon.

On water, he said efforts of identifying sites for boreholes are continuing, adding more boreholes will be drilled before this year ends.

However, he noted that some areas in the constituency like Milepa have potable water, school blocks, electricity and a good road network among other developments.

To this end, he assured people of Chamdimbo of electricity saying Malawi Rural Electrification Program targets them.

Meanwhile, the area is seriously faced by food shortages owing to drought.