Dust refuses to settle at Mitole Estate in Chikwawa District as Chief Katunga on Friday ordered communities and other people constructing various infrastructure at the place never to give up but to continue with their work.
The almost 100 hectares Mitole Estate is known to belong to one famous Rolf Patel and recently, the District Commissioner, Fred Movete, issued a stop order for all people working on the site.
Addressing journalists at Matechanga Motel in the district, Chief Katunga accused Patel of using his political influence to grab the land from the people.
“Since 2008, as chief of the area and fellow chiefs under my jurisdiction, we have not found evidence that the land belongs to Patel. He doesn’t even have title deeds to prove the land belongs to him.
“He is bad and doesn’t have the welfare of the people at heart for him to have all the land for himself,” said Chief Katunga.
The chief said he was surprised that in April 2018 he received an injunction from the DC over the land that belongs to their ancestors not Patel.
“I will fight or even die for the land than accept a stranger to take it from us. We will go forward and backward never. It would have been proper if the DC had called me to a discussion and not just serve me with a stop order,” he said.
One of the concerned citizens, Issa Frank Mpakati, said Patel came to their area in 1994 and met Mwita Village Headman where he requested for a piece of land to construct Ethanol Factory. As part of development, communities accepted him.
“We got surprised to note that he extended his base but the land was never sold to him. Rather he used his political powers to grab the land. Patel doesn’t have land in Chikwawa and we want our land back,” said Mpakati.
In a separate interview, Chikwawa District Commissioner, Fred Movete, said the role of the council was to ensure adherence to government policies, laws and procedures at local level.
The DC said in that case developers have to follow physical planning laws.
“The issue of who owns the land is between Rolf Patel and the purported customary land owners. This is a legal matter and it can only be determined by courts of law,” said Movete.
In an interview, Rolf Patel said he was surprised to hear of the development but said he would not comment much on the matter as the issue was in court.
“It is pathetic that the chiefs have been using their powers excessively. They should have come to me with their grievances, not the approach they have taken,” said Patel, adding that he follows the law and will see what comes up.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :