Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mpingwe Motel owner in land despute with Mwanza community members

Disagreements have ensued over 900,000 hectares of land said to be owned by Mpingwe Motel owner, a Chitunga, with community members already allocated land being evacuated by the business tycoon.
The controversial piece of land is located at Chifunga, on the road to Mwanza district.
Chitunga has owned the land since the late 1970s, but government, through a land relocation project, bought some 860,000 hectares of land from Chitunga, part of which land was allocated to community members without any land.

Malawi: facing severe land problems
However, some four years down the line, community members who have been farming and constructing houses on the controversial piece of land are getting the shock of their lives, as they are being unceremoniously evicted from their 'rightful' land.
"We are really shocked and surprised with Mr. Chitunga's behaviour becausae wwe were given this land by the Mwanza District Assembly, in collaboration with the Neno Local Assembly. Now, to evict us from a piece of land we have been farming on is very unfair; the land is ours," said Mariko Savala, one of the community members evicted from the land.
His sentiments were collaborated by Mercy Gambutsi, who said she has owned the controversial piece of land since 2006- "only to be chased unceremoniously by someone who does not own the land".
She appealed for government's intervention.
However, when contacted for comment, Chitunga wondered where this reporter had sourced his phone number, said he was in a meeting and would come back to Zachimalawi, and is yet to call back for his side of the story.
Zachimalawi will, nevertheless, give him the platform for his side of the story should he be willing to do so.
Land has become a controversial issue in Malawi, with the Episcopal Conference of Malawi- a grouping of Catholic Bishops in Malawi- describing it as one of the challenges facing Malawi today.
This is indicated in a Pastoral Letter issued a couple of months ago.
Government has since reacted to the letter, saying the Catholic Bishops took the stance of opposition parties in highlighting issues contained in the said letter.

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