Area 44 residents in Lilongwe say their land was sold to foreigners

Residents of Area 44 which is close to Kamuzu Palace are demanding their ancestral land which they allege was dubiously allocated to some foreign nationals.

Mlodza Ward councilor from Lilongwe Central Constituency Fabiano Lupanga told journalists during a press briefing on Thursday in Lilongwe that they have been complaining about the issue since 2020 to the extent that some of the concerned people got arrested in the process and are on court bail which shows that their rights are being infringed.

Lupanga added that justice must prevail at all costs because they have no place to farm and the sad thing is that if they die today their children will be left with nothing.

“We have tried to talk to different people in authorities, including the ministry of lands , District Council Office of OPC but to no avail. Coming here in public now is a sign that we are tired and went everyone to know about this issue so that they can assist us. I for one , am ready for anything that will come on my way, if it means dying so be it,” he said.

He then demanded authorities to address the issue in seven days.

On his part, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa challenged government and other stakeholders in land matters to swiftly
move in and resolve the land crisis which is threatening peace and stability in the country.

Namiwa said that the general public has lost trust in the public institutions that are dealing in land-related matters such as the Ministry of Lands, the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), the Malawi Police Service (MPS), District Councils and, even traditional leaders, for being seen to
be favouring foreign nationals and the elite in land justice administration.

He went on to say that records show that the matter was taken back to T/A
Tsabango to purportedly to start afresh a compensation process after efforts to
trace earlier records yielded no results.

In a twist of events, details emerged that a document was found that justified
assertions that compensations were paid, but this culminated into accusations
and counter-accusations among the concerned citizens, T/A Tsabango, Lands
Principal Secretary, a Mr Davie Chilonga and Lilongwe DC Lawford Palani.

“T/A Tsabango reportedly withdrew his letter to the Lilongwe District Council
dated September 7, 2020 that validated the concerned citizens’ claims.

“On the other hand, the DC also allegedly rescinded his earlier decision to ask
the conflict management and peace building district committee to resolve the
matter that had evolved into ugly scenes that led to the shooting of Tiferanji
Chipoko, following a fracas at the site on November 27, 2023,” he said.

Namiwa has since demanded Lilongwe DC, in liaison with T/A Tsabango, to sanction the district conflict management and peace building committee to pick up the matter before the situation gets out of hand.

He also wants the Inspector General of the Malawi Police to explain to Malawians why no arrests were made in relation to the November 27 ,2023 shooting incident at Area 44 .

“Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) should immediately call for a public land audit to ascertain who owns land in the country and the Law Commission and the Malawi Law Society to weigh in on calls to have a legislation that should allow for the setting up of an independent court an equivalent of the High Court Commercial Division,” he said.

Currently, there is a court ruling in relation to Alimaunde plots No 44/0 and 44/11 , where judge Kenyatta Nyirenda , in his September 24, 2020 ruling said the plots belong to Nature Gift Limited.

However, details have indicated that the Alimaunde Plots no 44/8 was not part of the above stated ruling . Alimaunde 44/9 and 11 were allocated to Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC/ , when it was establishing what was known as the Malawi Canada Dairy Cattle Project in 1968.

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