Malawi government losing land to encroachers, Minister issues warning

Ministry of lands, Housing and Urban Development has expressed concern over increased cases of land encroachment and grabbing on public land more especially in Lilongwe City.

Minister Vuwa Kaunda warns land encroachers
Ministry of Land staff during the meeting.-Photo by Tione Andsen, Mana

The Minister responsible Symon Vuwa Kaunda disclosed this Tuesday in Lilongwe when he addressed members of staff of his Ministry.

He warned that those encroachers on public land in Lilongwe risk arrest and may face jail sentence of five years according to the section 20 of the new land act of 2016.

Kaunda urged Estate Officer of his Ministry, City and Town Rangers to keep moving around monitoring and checking whether the developments taking place within is up to standards.

“They need to verify that the developments taking place with the City are approved ones. We have seen a lot of illegal structures being developed in Lilongwe. We want to warn encroachers that law will take its course for encroaching and developing on public land,” the Minister explained.

He said according to the laws any illegal structures which has been constructed without the approval would be brought down and this would be done.

“We have started pulling down illegal structures within the City and this is a continuous process and all the encroachers are being advised that the Ministry is serious on this issue of encroachment along road reserves and river banks,” Kaunda added.

The Minister directed that the Ministry should constitute teams of Rangers comprising Officers from the Departments of lands which include Legal and Estate Management, Physical Planning and Surveys Department.

He said the teams should work collaboratively to achieve the desired objectives of ensuring orderly developments in the allocated plots.

“The problems besetting the Ministry arise from lack of monitoring and vigilance by our staff and rangers to be specific. We have watched helpless the mushrooming of illegal developments on public land and the Ministry has in most cases failed to take action because rangers are not involved in the monitoring of covenant and developments agreements,” Kaunda stated.

He warned Rangers from been involved in corruption acts during their routine checks saying once they would be discovered they would be dismissed instantly.

Director of Administration in the Ministry, Duncan Chione said service delivery in the Ministry should improve.

He said this could be achieved if members of staff commit themselves to their various responsibilities in handling land matters in the country.

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