Deputy Minister of Lands Abida Sidik Mia visited Kumbali Lodge in the Capital Lilongwe where a group of villagers torched buildings and vehicles in the early hours of Monday following a land dispute between the proprietor and neghbouring residents.
The Deputy Minister wanted to understand the issue from a land point of view. It was learnt that the vandalism was as a result of arrests of some villagers for encroaching the land.
Abida Mia expressed sadness to owner of the lodge, Guy Pickering, for the loss occasioned to his property.
“We are sorry for your loss,” she said.
For some time, Pickering has been fighting some people he suspected to have encroached his land. The matter was taken to court where the residents were ordered to vacate.
However, the residents resisted after Pickering, with the help of some security personnel, tried to evict them last week.
Mia told reporters that the 754 hectares of land where the lodge is standing legally belongs to Pickering of the lodge where American pop queen Madonna loves to stay when she visits Malawi.
However, Abida Mia implored Pickering to a discussion ,arguing that contact and dialogue can best resolve the land wrangle in question.
Pickering accepted the Deputy Minister’s idea and promised to follow up with the minister on the suggestion.
However, Pickering bemoaned the conduct saying what happened was an act of vandalism and not an issue of land.
He said what happened was sad and the damage will heavily affect his business.
Kumbali Lodge owner also feared that some of his employees might lose jobs as the lodge attempts to recover from the damage.
Pickering said Kumbali Country Lodge employs about 300 people at full capacity and that in the face of Covid-19, the number was reduced to about 200.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :