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Land sale in Nkhotokota irks residents

The matter started when the district council allocated plots to people, who concerned citizens claimed The matter started when the district council allocated plots to people, who concerned citizens claimed
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There are fears that the land which Nkhotakota district council and citizens have been fighting over does not belong to the assembly as the council failed to produce documents indicating that the former airfield was surrendered to them by Ministry of Transport and Public Works.

This was discovered during extraordinary full council meeting convened to discuss way forward on plot allocation at the airfield as there are claims that the allocation was not procedural.

The meeting was full of drama with two Members of Parliament testifying they obtained plots because of their standing in the society and did not meet requirements.

The most surprising of the testimony was of MP for Nkhotakota Central Peter Mazizi who said his sister Grace Mazizi obtained the land without application or money.

“I tried to follow proper procedures but was not entertained because council officials told me that time for submission of application forms was over. Remarkably, I received a call some days later that I was supposed to submit my application form and money but I told them I was not interested because they had earlier on told me that they had closed up,” Mazizi revealed.

“The official insisted and I told them to allocate the place to my sister Grace. Surprisingly, my sister obtained the plot without any application or money. Worse still, she does not even have a bank account as per requirement,” testified Mazizi while echoing that some people have started construction works at the airfield before finalizing procedures.

MP for Nkhotakota South West, Mwale Makowa said he was no longer interested with the plot which was allocated to him saying there was no transparency and accountability when allocating the plots at the aerodrome.

“I was surprised a plot was assigned to me because I did not present all important documents like bank statements. I would like to have my name deleted because there was no transparency and accountability,” he said.

Makowa further said that the Principal Secretary (PS) for Ministry of Transport showed ignorance on the matter and wondered whether the council had a valid ownership document of the airfield.

Principal Secretary for Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Chris Kang’ombe who attended the meeting said there was no evidence that Civil Aviation Department surrendered the land to the council.

He also told the council that there was need for Ministries of Transport and Public works, Lands, Housing and Urban Development and, Local Government to work together and help the council follow right procedure for land ownership and distribution.

“There has to be transparency and accountability in everything which is done as far as plot allocation is concerned. There is clear evidence that the procedures followed to distribute the plots at the airfield were not practical,” said Kang’ombe.

Nkhotakota District Council chairperson, Manfred Kwanjiwa commended the idea of starting all over again, saying the plot allocation committee sidelined the councilors.

“As a council, we agreed all these plots should be commercial, but the so-called committee did the opposite. What was the purpose of allocating plots to MHC residents, let alone prayer houses on a commercial area?” wondered the council’s chairperson.

Kwanjiwa said there were many anomalies in the final list with some families given two plots, some names appearing twice among others.

“I tried to make resolutions, but what happened was the opposite of what we agreed. We hear the Director of Planning and Development handled the issue single-handedly. I tried to be democratic hence forwarding the issue to central government,” said Kwanjiwa.

On his part District Commissioner for Nkhotakota, Felix Mkandawire said all the procedures were done through authority from the district council.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Ivy Luhanga said the council skipped important procedures. She said the council was supposed to have a draft layout plan designed and presented to the Ministry as per request before everything was done.

Members who attended the meeting included councilors, concerned citizens, civil society networks, Members of Parliament, faith organization and traditional leaders.

The matter started when the district council allocated plots to people, who concerned citizens claimed, were council officials and influential people leaving behind small entrepreneurs.

Last modified on Monday, 01 June 2015 11:04


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