Firebrand Lands and Housing deputy minister, Abida Mia, who intervened in a land dispute between Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) and the families, who own the land where government housing-building entity built houses on their private land, says she is delighted that matter has been resolved amicably and that innocent people are not going to be affected.
Speaking in an interview Tuesday the Lower Shire political powerhouse and Member of Parliament for Chikwawa Nkombedzi said she as a line deputy minister responsible for lands and housing negotiated for the two parties to reach an agreement outside the courts to ensure that the families affected should be assisted as quick as possible and in a fair and just manner.
Said Mia: “The issue was very sensitive as innocent families were facing eviction and were given orders to vacate their homes within 24 hours and that was unreasonable because these people hadn’t done anything wrong.
“I felt duty bound not only as a deputy minister to intervene but as a mother and a humanitarian I felt for the family and especially the children, who has had been thrown under the bus in that situation and it was at that moment that I decided to go in there with humility and not Authority and negotiate for more time for the people to stay on while further negotiations were going on.”
Mia, who is known for her benevolence, added that she commends the Scordis and Costas families for their understanding and for accepting to offer their land to MHC as an amicable to way settle the matter out of court.
“Every problem has a solution especially when we sit down and discuss. If this matter was pushed to the courts, it would have not only have taken long to resolve, innocent people would have been victims of circumstances,” said a delighted Mia.
The owners of the land under dispute where MHC is alleged of illegally building residential homes for rent, the Costas and Samantha Scordis families, as a way to resolve the matter, have offered MHC to buy the controversial piece of land at Ngumbe in Blantyre where the corporation encroached and built houses.
Lawyer representing the Costas and Samantha Scordis family Kuleza Phokoso, said in a separate interview that both parties agreed to resolve the land dispute outside the court.
“The two parties agreed at a meeting that a better alternative should be found and that instead of fighting in court or demolishing the already constructed and occupied houses, an amicable solution should be reached.
“So, the family has offered MHC to buy the land. That offer has been submitted to MHC and the Ministry of Lands.
“The owners, Chitseko Estate Limited and Scordis family are waiting for a response on that offer.”
Ernestina Lunguzi MHC spokesperson confirmed that the corporation received the offer to buy the land.
However, she said the corporation is still looking at the offer as there are a number of issues that need to be addressed.
“At the moment, our technocrats are looking into the matter. After that, the matter will be referred to the MHC Board for its final decision.”
However, both Lunguzi and Phokoso kept a tight lid on how much the family is demanding for the land.
The offer follows a meeting held a fortnight ago between the family, Ministry of Lands and MHC officials spearheaded by deputy minister of Lands and Housing Abida Mia.
Last month, some families occupying MHC houses at Ngumbe were given 15 hours to vacate the houses following a High Court order stopping any activity on the said piece of land.
Nearly 15 households were issued with eviction orders from their two-bed room rented semi-detached houses which the parastatal constructed on the alleged private land.
Following the vacation notice, Minister of Lands Kezzie Msukwa and his deputy Abida Mia visited the area and pleaded with the Scordis family to resolve the matter outside court.
Before starting the housing project, MHC management is reported to have ignored a professional advice not to proceed due to the ownership issue forcing the Scordis to drag the corporation to court in 2018.
The corporation’s move compelled the family to file a suit against the parastatal in 2018 demanding a permanent injunctive stopping it and its agents from claiming ownership of the land, trespassing and encroachment and building of houses.
The Scordis claimed they suffered loss because of the trespass and encroachmen by the Malawi Housing Corporation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :