Lundazi villagers seek compensation
Lundazi, MAY 24, 2013, ZANIS….Eastern Province Minister Malozo Sichone has warned that government will not be responsible for villagers who continue to occupy land that was declared as part of Malawi following the placing of beacons.
Mr Sichone said government will not take kindly to the 53 villagers who chose to disobey the international boundaries saying failure to relocate to inland would lead them to be harassed by Malawi authorities.
He was speaking when he addressed the villagers at chieftainess Mwasemphangwe’s palace yesterday.
Mr Sichone observed that chieftainess Mwasemphangwe had released land for the villgers who refused to move but instead wanted to be compensated.
He told the villagers that they will not be compensated and that those who will not relocate by July 31 2013 faced harassment by Malawi authorities.
Mr Sichone also noted that the villagers wanted an extension of the period in which they were to be moved from the area which borders Zambia with Malawi’s Kasungu National Park.
And Permanent Secretary Bert Mushala said government could not extend the period because it was agreed to by both governments and that villagers were given ample time to harvest their crops.
“You will have completed harvesting by July 31, though my advice is that you move to alternative land before the stipulated date,” he said.
But the villagers who agreed to relocate appealed to government to compensate them saying they had settled on the land in question through legal means.
Speaking on behalf to the villagers, Fabian Ndawandawa appealed to government to assist the affected families through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) because most of them had invested all their resources in building houses.
“We regard this as a disaster because we do not have money to construct other houses and we do not know where to start from as most of us are poor and have no sources of income,” he said.
Earlier, chieftainess Mwasemphangwe complained to Mr Sichone that the families had refused to relocate and demanded to be compensated.