Concerned citizens petition Chakwera over illegal sale of school land

By Synd Kalimbuka

Concerned citizens in Zomba have today presented their petition to the State President Dr Lazarus Chakwera on alleged illegal sale of school land by the Zomba City Council.

Students from Chilunga Community Day Secondary school, chiefs, teachers and some members of Human Rights Defenders Coalition held peaceful demonstrations from Chilunga CDSS to the office of District Commissioner where they presented the petition.

One of the board members for Chilunga CDSS Yona Kalaundi said the land was given to the school in 2001 but in 2015, the city council started selling the land to individuals.

Part of the land where individuals are constructing hostels

“Our wish is to have the whole land returned to the school because the city has been playing delay tactics on the issue to allow individuals to complete their projects on the school land,’ said Kalaundi.

Students for Chilunga CDSS demanded immediate removal of corrupt city council officials who sell plots for their personal benefits saying such leadership is not what the country needs.

TheE tudents have further appealed to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate and take action on the matter.

“(ACB should not neglect but to investigate on the matter immediately,” said one of Chilunga CDSS students.

Senior Chief Mlumbe said time has come for city council to surrender the whole land to the school saying presence of chiefs during demonstrations shows that they are angry at what Zomba city council did.

“We chiefs work hand in hand with government during Implementation of all projects. What the city did on selling the land which we gave to government for the school is really bad,” said chief Mlumbe.

Mlumbe said chiefs in collaboration with all concerned citizens will continue giving pressure to city authorities until the land is returned back to the school.

Chiefs also took part during demonstrations

Village head Ndiyesamwana and group village headman Chikanda said chiefs are very tired of the behaviour by some council officials for not priotizing rights of education of Malawian children.

They called the District Commissioner for Zomba to really send the petition to President Lazarus Chakwera so that he should be aware that there is still existence of corrupt officers at Zomba City Council.

District Commissioner for Zomba Dr Smart Gwedemula promised to send the petition to President Chakwera through relevant authorities.

Gwedemula, however, advised petitioners to be following procedures when conducting such demonstrations. He further urged them to continue maintaining peace in the district.

Previously, the council sold 2.4 hectares to individuals but returned 1.2 hectares to the school.

Through resolution made by the council during previous full council meeting, they agreed to allocate another land in exchange to the sold land to the school but the school is demanding the same land which the council sold to individuals for construction of a hostel.

Human Rights Defenders Coalition for Zomba chapter has joined concerned citizens on the matter in making sure that justice prevails.