The controversial Kasamba dam that was being constructed in Traditional Authority Njolomole in Ntcheu district has ended abruptly, leaving 15 families landless.
The 15 families had their crops chopped and no any compensation was given to them. According to the Chairperson of the affected families, Mrs Falesi Chikuni, Ministry of Agriculture was the one constructing the dam.
Chikuni told Nyasa times that while the dam could have helped the area in so many ways, the Ministry did not follow the right procedure by just grabbing their land while the crops were in the field.
“They could have used the proper channels. We have been farming on this land for a number of years and the land belongs to us. Now we are destitute and they are telling us that they will not compensate us,” lamented Chikuni.
Chikuni said when they heard rumours of the dam and that their land will be affected they went to the Village Chief (Kasamba) to enquire more on the issue and they were told that it was their development and they should just accept it.
Chikuni and her group told Nyasa Times that what government could have done was to wait for their crops to be harvested and continue with the construction of the dam.
“Here we are without anything and with this looming hunger, it means we will starve,” said Chikuni.
The group feels cheated because the one who was coordinating the project Gift Kapesi assured them that Government will compensate them. After some days into construction there was a U-turn that Government does not give any compensation when doing such kind of developments.
When asked to comment on the issue, Kapesi said he tried all he could for the affected families to be compensated but the Ministry has not been forthcoming and what it means is that the affected families will not be compensated.
“I would like to appeal to the affected families to accept the development. This is our own dam and it’s not just any other dam but a multipurpose dam,” Kapesi was quoted as saying.
The affected families have been moving up and down to seek for assistance but to no avail. Now they can afford a smile as Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) have facilitated in identifying them the services of a Lawyer.
Sewenthe Chipofya, YONECO’s District Manager for Ntcheu, said she is now happy that the affected families will be represented by a lawyer.
“These people have suffered, their crops were chopped. They had nowhere to go but thanks to Women in Law in Southern Africa (WILSA) for coming to their rescue,” said Chipofya
Mzati Kidney Mbeko who is also WILSA’s National director will represent the aggrieved families.
Speaking to Nyasa Times, Mzati said WILSA and YONECO work in collaboration as such he thought it wise to represent them as most of the affected families are women.
Sources within the Ministry of Agriculture confided to Nyasa Times that upon completion the dam will cost 10 billion Kwacha. Some of the crops that were damaged are maize, Irish potatoes, Banana’s, beans and countless number of Blue gum trees among others.
The affected families are seeking K1 Billion as compensation from Government but a visit by Nyasa Times to the scene found that all the earth equipment were taken away by the Ministry while the said dam is not finished.
Efforts to talk to the Ministry of Agriculture proved futile as their phones went unanswered on several attempts.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :