President Lazarus Chakwera on Wednesday visited Kumbali Lodge in Lilongwe and learnt that preliminary estimates indicate that property worth over $500,000 (over K375 million) was lost after the torching of facilities at the premises and that besides workers risking job cuts, the arson will negatively affect early childhood development in the area.
Part of Kumbali Lodge in in Lilongwe’s Area 44 and some cars belonging to the lodge including a nursery school that was built within the compound were set ablaze in the early hours of Sunday by a mob of villagers living in surrounding area who ae claiming part of the land that belongs to the lodge.
Some residents had allegedly encroached the area under the lodge and torched building and cars at the lodge after their structures were demolished.
The encroachers, who were allegedly selling land to other developers, were ordered by the court to vacate the area, but they resisted until they were evicted by force.
Chakwera visited the lodge and said it was “unfortunate incident” that the land dispute ended in arson.
The President said his administration will not tolerate lawless in the country.
“Investors will be safe here, their investors will be safe and we will make sure whoever partners with investors they are safe.
“What we are against is lawlessness, we are against corruption , we are against people using other people for their own gains ,” said the Malawi leader to reporters.
Kumbali Lodge executive director Guy Pickering said the damage is estimated at K350 million, with a further loss of revenue expected over the festive season.
A Europe-based couple who had booked to spend their eighth wedding anniversary at the hotel, were shocked to discover that it had been damaged by communities
“We planned to enjoy a week here and we are so disappointed,” they said.
Guests who had booked to stay at the lodge would have to be redirected to other hotels as they embark on renovations.
Guy said the arson would also inconvenience their regular clients including US pop queen Madonna and it would also mean the cancellation of bookings that had already been made.
He also said the nursery school which was benefiting about 80 children will be affected.
“Early childhood development is key to a child. It will take time to renovate the nursery school since income generation has been affected,” he said.
Guy said the lodge will have lay off some workers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :