Court issues injunction against Malawi minister Bande: Land dispute

The High Court in Blantyre has issued an interim restraining order stopping Minister of Mining, John Bande and others from trespassing and encroaching on Angoni Lonjezo Community Based Organization (CBO) orphanage land situated in his constituency, Blantyre City East.

The court’s order came about after some of the CBO’s officials complained of been assaulted and driven away from the land by Bande’s supporters despite the land legally registered under the orphanage.

The restraining order stands until February 18th when the court will commence inter parte hearing on the interlocutory injunction the orphanage officials are seeking to permanently pin down the minister who is said to be trying to snatch the orphanage’s land.

Bande, for years now, has been at battle with the Angoni Lonjezo’s officials led by Molson Tengatenga and relocate it to a close-by public clinic.

Bande: Served with court order
Bande: Served with court order

According to court files, the orphanage was allocated the land by group village-headman, Matenje on February 7, 2005 to be used for community driven activities which include HIV and Aids testing and counseling, adult literacy, tinsmith training among others. It was registered as Community Based Organization in 2009.The orphanage was built with assistance from Malawi Social Action Fund (Masaf) who provided 75 percent with the remaining 25 percent met by the However; and in 2009 part of the land was reallocated for the construction of the clinic.

However, dispute ensued when Bande and his supporters started encroaching on the remaining orphanages’ land apart from issuing orders for the CBO to vacate the premise which they said was to be used for President Joyce Banda’s Safe Motherhood initiative purpose.

Over 100 orphans and vulnerable children were chased from the land by Banded and his supporters who later on assaulted Tengatenga and his fellow officials on reports that they side with former ruling, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Court proceeding

On Friday the High Court judge, Joseph Manyungwa adjourned the scheduled inter parte hearing on the application by the CBO’s officials to permanently bar Bande and others from encroaching and trespassing on its land.

Bande’s lawyer Elton Jangale of Sacranie, Gow & Company asked the court to adjourn the hearing to a later day since the minister is reportedly outside the country on official duties.

Despite resistance from CBO’s lawyer, Chancy Gondwe, Manyungwa upheld the defense’s request and adjourned the case to 18th when the hearing will commence but issued interim restraining Order.

Gondwe argued that there was no substantive reason to adjourn the case.

But Justice Manyungwa upheld Jangale’s request and ordered him to furnish the court with affidavit and skeleton arguments by February 12 on the scheduled inter parte hearing.

“The court initiated the inter parte hearing to give chance both parties to he heard. It will be unfair for the court to make its determination on the matter before giving each party chance to explain its side. The interim order of injunction restraining the accused from trespassing and encroaching on the said land is limited to 18th when inter parte hearing commence,” Justice Manyungwa said in his determination.

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