Deputy Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Abida Mia has said following investigations it has been established that there was no suspicious dealing in disposing of the contentious public land issue in Mpemba, Blantyre, which was reported to have been dubiously acquired by some government officers and other private developers for residential purposes.
Mia said the land at Mpemba’s Staff Development Institute (SDI) was disposed of after following the due process.
SDI—formerly Mpemba Staff Training College—is a training, consulting and research government institution based at Mpemba and was established in 1962 as the training arm of the country’s Civil Service.
It is administratively placed under the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRMD) and Development in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
Mia said she has settled the matter on the land initially designated for the construction of Mpemba Community Hospital to replace Mpemba Health Centre, saying she discussed with the minister Kezzie Msukwa who instructed her to “promptly act.”
“So I rolled into action to get to the bottom of the issue,” she said.
The deputy minister explained that in 2018, upon advice from the district health office (DHO), the Blantyre District Commissioner’s office requested Ministry of Agriculture to swap the said land with the one closer to where the health centre is situated.
“Two hectares of land was offered next to the health centre and the land that was initially meant for the community hospital was subdivided and distributed to 28 private developers, some of whom have developed their plots while others are yet to start,” she said.
Mia said just across the health centre, there is four hectares which they have asked the Blantyre DC’s office to offer to the hospital in case ‘there will need for further extension.”
The deputy minister said the swapping of the land “made a lot of sense.”
Mpemba, which is one of the fastest growing places in Blantyre, has been entangled in land disputes for some time.
Last year, SDI management was surprised to note that a private developer Dr Smart Chokhotho of Lilongwe was demarcating plots at the site and selling them to individuals without the college’s knowledge.
The allocation of SDI land to private developer did not only surprise SDI management, but surrounding chiefs too who have since lodged a complaint to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to institute a probe on how Chokhotho acquired the land.
The disgruntled chiefs include Group Village Heads (GVH) Somba (who is also acting Traditional Authority Somba), Duncan and Mkwapatira and Village Head (VH) Jiya and Ziboda.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :