Kaliati tips chiefs to follow legal guidelines on land sharing
By Moses Nyirenda
Lilongwe, November 6, Mana: Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati has advised chiefs in the country to follow legal guidelines when dealing with land issues such as sharing of land to people and institutions, in a bid to avoid land disputes.
The Minister made the remarks on Thursday when she visited Jevelin John, 86 popularly known as Gogo Nandege from Chatata Village, Traditional Authority (TA) Chitukula in Lilongwe district who is in land dispute with a Church.
Kaliati said that she decided to visit Gogo Nandege after receiving a complaint from her regarding a land wrangle which erupted between her and Makumbi Church of Central African Presbytery (CCAP) Prayer House of the Nkhoma Synod.
“My Ministry received a report from Gogo Nandege that her great grandfather offered a piece of land to the Church in the early 1940’s when CCAP had requested for a piece of land to construct a Church building in the name of Makumbi CCAP Prayer House under Katondo Presbytery.
“Later in 2016, the Church wanted more land to construct a bigger church building and the church approached Senior Group Village Headman (SGVH) Chatata for a piece of land adjacent to the church for extension of church buildings,” Kaliati explained.
The Minister added that, SGVH Chatata referred the church to Mphonde family whose head is Gogo Nandege to negotiate the acquisition of the piece of land as the family was the owner of the land.
She said that the family offered about half an acre to the church at prevailing market prices of the land in the area; however the church offered to pay K 400, 000 for the land which Nandege’s family refused.
According to her, in 2018 Gogo Nandege and the family were surprised to see that the church started encroaching into their land by extending church buildings and a disagreement rose between two parties.
Kaliati said that the matter was referred to SGVH Chatata who in the company of his colleagues ruled that the piece of land belonged to the church and instructed the church to destroy the already planted maize crop of Gogo Nandege’s family.
After presenting the report, the Minister faulted the chiefs for not following legal guidelines regarding the distribution of the land which resulted into misunderstanding between Gogo Nadege and the church.
“The conduct of the village heads in addressing the issue of the land did not follow legal and proper guidelines of land distribution, hence I am asking the village heads to look into the matter again and come up with justifiable decision,” she said.
Kaliati advised chiefs in the country to look into land issues seriously to avoid causing disputes.
SGVH Chatata commended the Minister for her advice, saying that with his colleagues they would be looking on land issues seriously to avoid land dispute incidences like the one which occurred.