A Human Rights and governance organization, Millennium Information and Resource Centre [MIRECE], has called upon Government particularly the Ministry of Civic Education, Malawi Human Rights Commission [MHRC], the Media and other stakeholders to sensitize Malawians on the new land bill if is it to be a Malawi wokomera tonse.
MIRECE conducted a research which has proved that many Malawians are not aware of the land laws, they just sell it to whoever has money forgetting that tomorrow, they will still need that land reclaiming it from those who bought it.
The organization says although the land bill was passed in Parliament by Members of Parliament into law, many Malawians protested it because they were not consulted and as a result Government thought it wise to bring back the land bill so that all Malawians add their inputs.
In a statement released by MIRECE’s Director, Reverend Flywell Somanje, Malawians are being asked to show their seriousness on what the land laws should include saying tomorrow if Parliament passes the same into a law it will be difficult to protest as government has given Malawians another chance.
MIRECE fears that if Malawians fail to put in their inputs into the new land law, one day they will wake up only to see all of their land has been taken into the hands of foreigners, saying this development would cause many Malawians to lose a chance of owning land for cultivating crops.
The organization says most of the land in trading centres, areas along the Lake Shores, towns, cities, including where there are mineral deposits have been bought by foreigners , leaving the owners with no land and worse still the landless people are offered piece works by foreigners working for them as casual labourers.
It says it is sad to note that Chamwabvi Group of companies and Press Agriculture have over 1000 to 2000 hectares of land while the surrounding villages are landless saying the situation is the same with Thyolo and Mulanje where tea estates have surrounded the landless citizens resulting to problems in many households in terms of food insecurity.
…….’’It will be good for the new land laws to give the estate owners a reasonable size of land 300 or 400 hectares so that the landless people are also benefiting on the other parts other than the whole land being taken by the foreigners, this will create problems in the future,’’……reads part of the statement.
MIRECE has lamented the the Refugee camps believed to be hosting refugees and asylum seekers, more land in the surrounding villages were bought by the foreigners due to the weakness of the country’s land laws making one to wonder where is Malawi going as it is failing to protect its land.
The organization says in many places where tobacco were being grown, they were leased for 21 years, and it has been noticed that after the expiry of the lease agreements, villagers surrounding it are claiming that the land belong to them while, the law say that expired land lease, has to go to government. MIRECE is expressing hope that Government this time around will take a leading role to sensitize as many Malawians as possible so that all Malawians are consulted for their inputs to be included in the new land laws for Malawi to be for Malawians and not to foreigners as it is slowly becoming the case.
By Vincent Gunde