Experts call for immediate action on urban governance lapses 

Lack of political will on urban governance has been identified as main cause of challenges facing town residents being perpetuated by urban migration.

Urbanisation in Malawi critical in the country’s efforts to boost resilience, reduce poverty, and achieve sustainable, inclusive growth.
Chisi: Research has revealed that 76 per cent of all residents’ in main cities are living in squatters while the 24 percent fairy live in located plots with negligible land problems.

Deputy Chief Executive Director of Tilitlonse Foundation, Chandiwire Chisi, said research has revealed that 76 per cent of all residents’ in main cities are living in squatters while the 24 percent fairy live in located plots with negligible land problems.

This observation was made during a workshop that was conducted at Livingstonia Beach Hotel in Salima, under the theme, ‘National Urban Implementation and Innovative Urban Government’.

“Its bad that 76 per cent in cities live in squatters, it is a great concern because that indicates that there is huge lack of resources like water, land, standards road, better markets and many other equally necessary resources worth for a better living.

“The unauthorized developers worrisomely growing in our four cities of Zomba, Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu is due to urban migration in search of greener pastures. When they get in town these people end up just finding a space to live and construct illegally, this works against the town development plans,” Chisi said.

Director of Urban Development in the Ministry of Lands, Mercy Betty Dube downplayed the issues of multiple landlords contributing to illegal development in cities.

“The Physical Planning Act, is very, clear that the all land including customary land in the country shall be subjected to all planning principles.

“So any uncontrolled use of land should be dealt with by enforcing the laws, the only challenge must be lack of capacity to carry out enforcement,” she says.

She added that harmonization of legal framework and embrace inclusiveness to deal with urban land governance in order for the country to achieve sustainable land use.

“Urban land governance is very key to the nation’s development and some of the areas to be looked at includes, good governing structures, citizen participation and accountability, good and updated policies, legal frameworks, best practices, and look into some areas of reforms,” she added.

President of Malawi Institute of Physical Planners (MIPP) Dereck Mamiwa says political will is the only way to move out of this mess.

“Poverty is hidden original cause of shanty settlements in towns, and the drive to bail out the citizens is that the politicians should be will to give sound policies that can less poverty.

“All land stakeholder should joint stand up to address these challenges and some politicians should refrain from putting their political powers on these issues, and they should learn to listen from professionals, and by doing so the situation will b reversed,” Mamiwa said.

With financial support from European Union, Tilitonse Foundation supported Oxfam-Malawi which organized the workshop to address urban land administration woes that have fueled poor urban settlements.

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1 year ago

Check the chiefs. They have too much power over land. That is why we have problem of squatters. Govt should quickly create rural industries to avoid unnecessary movement to urban Town for greener pasture. Control vending.

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