Malawi Palriament on Tuesday debated and passed three Land-related bills tabled by Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development.
The bills which are bills number 10 of 2006 , Land Acquisition (Amendment), bill number 5 of 2016, Malawi Housing Corporation (Amendment) and bill number 8 of 2016, Public Roads (Amendment) which passed after Members of Parliament expressed concerns before nodding to them.
Minister Muluzi explained that the Land acquisition bill is designed to benefit poor Malawians whose lands are subject to be taken by the government for developmental projects and urbanisations.
He assured the House that subsidiary laws will be put in place to protect the interests of individuals.
Muluzi said the new legislation seeks to compensate the affected families with a reasonable compensation fee which will be more than before as the old law was only compensating them after calculating how one developed the land or if there was any tree but the new law will not look into that as any land, regardless whether it’s developed or not, be compensated.
He also said the bills has reduced the powers of a minister as old law gave powers to take over a land with compensations but now the new law says the decision by the minister is no longer final as it can be challenged in court of appeal.
On Malawi Housing bill, Muluzi said it will give power to the corporation to buy customary land which is idle for development and build new houses apart from renovating the old houses.
Nkhatabay Central MP, Ralph Mhone (Peoples Party – PP) said he did not support a clause in the Malawi Housing Corporation Amendment Bill, which gives the parastatal freedom to buy and develop customary land.
Mhone said this may disadvantage and displace impoverished Malawians whose financial uscle cannot match that of the corporation where an individual and MHC are eager to but the same piece of land.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson on land issues in the house, Alex Chitete said as a party they are supporting the bills but asked the minister to ensure that there’s no politicization of the act once it passes as it can only target those in oppossiton party when it comes to taking the idle land .
Chitete also asked the minister to ensure that the once the bill is passed into law it must benefit poor Malawians not foreigners who grabs the lands in the name of investors.
He said there’s also need to look into the issue of land leasing where some foreigners get middle lands to develop it but it remains idle for years as they lease it for a very 50 years with some even close to 100 years.
Only DPP’s Blantyre City West Parliamentarian, Thom Gowelo spoke on one of the bill as expert i land and housing, as all three bills it was opposition members of parliament and independent legislators for Ntchisi North Bornface Kadzamira who contributed.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :