As Nyasa Times, we are deeply concerned thought immensely not surprised with media revelations regarding shady and suspicious deals surrounding continued sale of large tracts of land to foreigners especially in urban areas.
With are concerned because with each passing day, Malawians keep losing control of their cities as large tracts of land is being sold to non-Malawians.
On the same note, we are not surprised because stories of land grabs have always graced our doorsteps and, in all these years, our authorities have always chosen to, strategically, turn a blind eye.
If you check with either the Ministry of Lands, or Housing, even with City Council officials; you will shudder to note the scale at which prime land in our cities--especially Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Blantyre and Zomba, has been sold off to non-Malawians.
Fellow Malawians, we don't own these cities; we are visitors and, of course, strangers in these cities we brag to be our own. We are renting in our own cities. Eventually, as they keep buying off piece by piece of our cities, one day they will unite and chase us away.
Is this the kind of Malawi we are preparing for our kids?
Well, we understand that Malawi is a multi-racial nation and it belongs to everyone who legally lives in it. Such an argument presupposes that anyone who lives in Malawi and has the capacity can buy up and own land anywhere in this great republic, even cities.
The folly in such an argument is akin to letting a person who scored 20 points at a remote Community Day Secondary School in Nsanje to compete for the only remaining space at the university with a person who scored 8 points from Saint Andrews High School. Can fairness be achieved in that context?
Every Malawian wants to, at least, own a piece of prime land in any of the cities. The reason most Malawians don't own such land is because we have corrupt governments that protect the interest of few rich people, mostly foreigners, at the expense of their people. This is why most land deals, as exposed by the media, stinks of corruption.
This needs to be reversed.
President Lazarus Chakwera needs to treat the issue of land as an emergency. He needs to institute an inquiry, now, to establish the truth regarding these land deals.
We need new intergrated land management system. There should be physical door to door audit of all Malawi Housing Corporation plots.
Sale of MHC land and plots should be carried by landlord - Ministry of Land. The mandate of MHC is to build houses, thats it.
All deals that were concluded through cutting corners must be reversed. Further, Chakwera need to put deliberate measures to ensure that Malawians, yes black Malawians, also own a share of their cities.