A chief in Likoma has advised the incoming decision makers who will be sworn in various public position after the May 21 polls this year to consider people’s views when implementing development projects to avoid conflicts with the communities in the district.
Group village (GVH) Chamba of Madimba village Traditional Authority (T/A) Mkumpha 3 made the call in an interview on Tuesday whilst reflecting on some of the delayed and failed projects which should have been fully implemented on Likoma Island since 2014 but failed due to issues which emanated from failure to follow proper procedures on engaging the Islanders on land ownership matters.
This has happened following some disagreements which erupted between the Council and community members of Madimba area on the Island where people are reluctant to free their land for a network of water pipes to pass through from the water board to the newly constructed community college saying they were not compensated. The issue has led to delayed completion of the project.
In his sentiments, the chief bemoaned the tendency by those put into public offices for neglecting the society for their inputs on development activities.
He said: “Elected leaders are the servants of the people, they are put in such positions to represent and serve Malawians for their welfare. Whenever development activities are coming, they should be going back on the ground to negotiate with the community and build one thing.”
He suggested that authorities should consider liaising with the Islanders when the government has development agendas to be implemented in Likoma as the district is a free hold land where the land belongs to the people and not to the chiefs as it is with the customary law where chiefs have the rule over land ownership.
“Any piece of land in Likoma has the rightful person owning that place, that’s why you find it that people are very serious when it comes to issuing their land to the government through the council when they are not well approached,” explained Chamba.
Taking his part on the matter, the newly appointed Area Development Committee (ADC) chairperson Martin M’nkhwamba said lack of good connection between the district council (DC) and the Islanders is another contributing factor that fuels such setbacks.
“Lack of good linkage between the Council and other developmental associations and communities in the district is a major challenge such that some development activities vanish in the pipeline due to some challenges as people are made unaware of the initiatives when issues emerge,” lamented M’nkhwamba.
He rather suggested that the Council should be playing a pivotal role in harnessing public leaders and the people to flourish development.
The ADC chair for Likoma then pleaded with politicians in Malawi as a whole to refrain from politicizing development agendas outlined by the government for implementation saying the act jeopardizes the progress of the nation.