Battle for the ownership of the 166-hectare of land that lies at Chitipi in the outskirts of Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, has taken a new twist with political activist Bon Kalindo now demanding that the Bangladeshi national Muhammad Manan should surrender it to the natives within seven days or face endless vigils at his private home.
Last year, High Court judge Kenyatta Nyirenda awarded the land to Manan a default judgment because the residents did not show up at the court.
Ironically, the default judgment came barely a few days after former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Kezzie Msukwa, had visited the area where he declared that Chitipi residents are the rightful owners of the disputed land.
Msukwa said the Bangladeshi national, Manani, had failed to produce evidence to support his claim for ownership of the land when he (the minister) visited the site.
This seems to have prompted Kalindo to side with the residents in their fight to reclaim their land.
On Sunday afternoon, the former Director of Youth in UTM Party visited the villagers where he assured them of his unwavering support in the struggle for land reclamation.
“If Muhammad Manan fails to surrender the land to the owners, we’ll hold vigils at his residence in Lilongwe,” said Kalindo.
Group Village Head (GVH) Evance Nakutepa thanked Kalindo for the moral support. However, Nakutepa appealed to President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera to intervene on the matter.
In a separate interview, Manan vowed that he cannot surrender the land to the locals until Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, where the locals are challenging Nyirenda’s default judgment, makes its determination on the matter.