Government optimistic of a brighter Malawi once new land bills are in place

Government on Monday said it is optimistic of a brighter Malawi once new land related bills are enacted to law.

Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi said this in Lilongwe when he opened a one day all inclusive sensitization meeting on land related laws and bills where various stakeholders including Member of Parliaments, Civil Society and Chiefs were drawn across the country to say their views on the proposed land bills.

Muluzi wondered how Malawi could develop if customary land continue being under the state.

He said, “the land laws that are currently in use says that land is under the state which means that people do not have the right to own land per say. But the proposed land laws 2016 that if approved will be in law gives the mandate to the people to own land.

“It is when people own land the country will develop because people will fully utilize their land as they will know it’s their land, and in so doing the country will develop.”

Reacting on the proposed land laws, MPs and chiefs present at the meeting thinks otherwise as they pointed out a number of things that government ought to amend on the proposed bill.

Former Vice President of Malawi Khumbo Kachali thought it was time for government to consider putting in place laws that will benefit Malawians rather than yielding more from poor Malawians.

“I tend to differ with you honorable Minister. You are saying the new land bill seeks to help Malawians have a say on their land. This bill is nothing but reaping from the poor Malawians.

“Section 27 (c) of the proposed bill indicate that people will be paying if they want to register for their own land, but in all the presentations here, nothing of that sort has been mentioned,” wondered Kachali, adding that, “during the last seating of Parliament when we were debating for the other land bill before it was passed, we pointed out a number of issues that we said ought to be changed, but it was not changed.”

Senior Chief Kapeni expressed his concern saying there ought to be enough consultations from the chiefs before the bills enacted to law.

“When we say chieftaincy we mean ownership of land, and as I have learnt here land will no longer be under chiefs but a shared ownership and am afraid this might be the end of chieftaincy,” he wondered.

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA.