8 August 2017

Malawi: Court Injunctions Fueling Illegal Land Occupation in Lilongwe - Council

Lilongwe City Council (LCC) says it is failing to act on illegal occupation of land through demolition of some structures because of legal restraints like court injunctions.

In an interview. LCC acting chief executive officer Charles Makanga said most illegal occupation of land in the city is going unpunished because people obtain court injunctions which stops the council to exercise its mandate on demolishing structures on illegal land.

Makanga said this in light of complaints from Bwaila District Hospital Office and Lilongwe District Council on encroachment of their land by some business people.

"LCC is always ready to demolish all illegal buildings in the city like shops erected opposite Bwaila District Hospital, and some shops behind Lilongwe main depot among many.

"But owners of these premises always rush to court to obtain injunctions, restraining the city council from acting according to the laws," Makanga said.

He said the conduct has resulted in the proliferation of erecting structures without city council's approval and existing planning arrangements.

"This trend is causing lawlessness." he said.

Makanga further said LCC will soldier on to reverse this unruly tendency and bring sanity in plot allocation within the city.

"We have already consulted the Attorney General's office to assist with legal support because the city does not have readily available lawyers due to financial constraints," he said.

One of the people erecting buildings opposite Bwaila District Hospital, who just identified himself as Simama refused to say much about their alleged illegal occupation of land.

"The matter is now in court, you can speak to our legal counsel for details," he said without providing contacts for their legal representation.

LCC is trapped in several battles of relocating business operators into newly designated places.

Business people at Waka-Waka Market in Area 36-Kaphiri are refusing to relocate Area 22 market.

Similarly, operators of minibuses for Kasungu, Ntchisi, Salima and Dwangwa, who park behind the main bus depot, have put their foot down that they will relocate to a new parking space next to Banja La Mtsogolo in Area 1.

Site chairman for Kasungu minibuses Chifundo Makawo said the new depot is small to accommodate all the minibuses that take the four routes of Kasungu, Ntchisi, Salima and Dwangwa.

"We are not relocating. We have agreed with owners of opposite shops to just leave some space for their customers," Makawo said.

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