Residents of Lusangazi have rejected the Mzuzu City Council’s move to dump waste at a forest in the area.
The residents are planning to hold demonstrations against the decision to use Lusangazi Forest as a dumping site.
Mzuzu City Council was forced to start using Lusangazi Forest after communities closed Msiro waste management site due to the council’s failure to manage waste.
According to Lyman Chirwa, one of the Lusangazi residents, the council did not consult them before moving the site to Lusangazi.
“We are communicating as villagers and community members to get to the bottom of this, the question is who has the authority over the land that was given to the City? And is the Forestry Department allowed to give out land for something that is detrimental to the environment and the health of the people?” asked Chirwa.
He added that the residents are planning to hold peaceful protests by blocking all the roads leading to the dump site.
“These people are playing with our lives and that of our children and grandchildren, we are mobilizing the chiefs to meet first. We will call on our MP Hon Catherine Gotani Hara and lodge a formal complaint, thereafter we shall give her 14 days to give us feedback.
“If there will be nothing convincing we will take it to the streets. The strike will start from the Roadblock to Lusangazi Forest offices.”
“Our petition will go to the Forester at Lusangazi Forest if we get the verification that indeed it’s the forest that gave such authorization,” said Chirwa.
Commenting on the matter, Chief Kamangadazi of Lusangazi area said the council’s move must be stopped because it is a life risk to the villagers.
He added that the council should have consulted chiefs in the area not just the forester at Lusangazi Forest or the forestry department.
“I don’t know if they even consulted the Forester, if they did and he (the Forester) accepted then he was wrong,” said Chief Kamangadazi of Lusangazi.
On his part, Mzuzu City Council public relations officer McDonald Gondwe said the council followed all processes to acquire the land.
“The council applied for the land to the Forest office then later the office of Forestry gave us a go ahead to use the land, it was the responsibility of the forestry to consult the community of the new development,” said Gondwe.