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Monday, 18 December 2017 15:35

Land issues derailing development projects – Kalemba

Written by  Kondwani Magombo
Kalemba - Communities have to sacrifice pieces of land for development infrastructure -  Pic by Kondwani Magombo Kalemba - Communities have to sacrifice pieces of land for development infrastructure - Pic by Kondwani Magombo

Mangochi, December 18, 2017: Director for Rural Development, Charles Kalemba, has called upon local authorities in the country to free land that is earmarked for infrastructural development if the country is to move forward.

Kalemba made the call on Saturday at Mpilipili Primary School in Makanjira when he, on behalf of Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, officially launched MK11.7 billion Mangochi Basic Services Programme (MBSP) funded by the Government of Iceland through Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA).

The MBSP is scheduled to run from 2017 – 2021. Among other things, Makanjira Health Centre will be upgraded to Emergency Obstetric and New-born Care (EmONC) facility while other old maternity facilities in various TAs in the district will also be upgraded.

The director described the programme as very unique and set to change the face of Mangochi in various sectors if the communities would be willing to give up some land for the planned infrastructure.

“The investment is very huge but the only problem we have had in Malawi is the communities’ failure to give up land for implementation of such projects,” Kalemba said.

“We have failed to take off in Nsanje Market Project because people want to be compensated for the land which was earmarked for development.

“That is derailing development. If we need development, we must be prepared to make certain sacrifices,” said the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry official. 

The Director appealed to chiefs in the country to be assertive enough in dealing with teething problems in such issues so that communities are not held at ransom because of few individuals who cannot sacrifice pieces of land for development infrastructure.

In their respective remarks, District Commissioner for Mangochi, Reverend Moses Chimphepo and the constituency’s legislator, Benedict Chambo, also stressed on the need for the communities to make land available for the MBSP interventions.

Chimphepo said all programs contained in the MBSP package were demanded by people of Mangochi themselves, as such, they should be able to embrace the projects and all that came with the package, including freeing up some land.

“The resources are given quarterly and if your absorption capacity is low that means you lose out as a lot of funds will remain unutilized because you cannot tap resources for another quarter before exhausting the first funds,” warned Chimphepo.

He added: “My appeal to the TAs and communities is that they should be willing to give out land. We shouldn’t have struggles to access land because that will cause unnecessary delays and loss of everything in the end.”

Parliamentarian Chambo said maternal health had always been an issue in Makanjira which is 101 km away from Mangochi District Hospital and with the road in bad shape, transporting referral cases to the district hospital had always been a hopeless and vain struggle.

He said given that the Makanjira Rural Hospital would have everything including a laboratory; it was a must for the communities to give land for the much-needed facility.

“On the Makanjira Rural Development Plan, the hospital has enough land but because it has taken long without any expansion, people have encroached and my appeal to the T.A. is to ensure that those people are relocated,” said Chambo.

In his remarks, T.A. Makanjira assured ICEIDA and the government that he would do everything to facilitate smooth progress of the development.

He also urged fellow T.As to welcome such development in their areas, saying Mangochi was very lucky to be the only district to have such a programme from ICEIDA, as such, they (TAs) ought to show their appreciation by aiding MBSP’s progress.

Other MBSP interventions include provision of safe water, implementation of Open Defecation Free activities in the target TAs, improvement of education infrastructure and services, and empowerment of youth and women through literacy and skills training.

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