‘Part 1- As you drive along Area 18’, Lilongwe Malawi

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As you drive along the Area 18, Gulliver road, on the area 47 side of the road, there is undeveloped land between the stream and Area 47’s sector 4. This I am told belongs to the Lilongwe City Assembly, but annually some brave folks farm in that land, but lately it was rumoured that all that is to stop because the Government has earmarked that land for a new state of the art stadium.

Well regardless of all this, some brave fellows have decided that they are entitled to that land and the last couple of days they have divided that land evenly among themselves, without giving a care in world to the fact that this is not customary land.

Now this is not the first time for this to happen, matter of fact the area around Area 49 and Gulliver is infamous for such cases where the City’s land is grabbed by local bandits and divided into plots for real estate development. What is fascinating is the process of it all. It all begins with poor locals armed with panga knives picking an area which has not developed nor has had plot allocated, they descend upon it and using force they take it over and allocate plots among themselves.

Of course the City Assembly will have none of that and soon battles erupts between the poor locals and the city officials, who use the police to try and remove these encroachers, but after months of wrangling  both physically and legally the City Assembly gives in and say ‘what the heck let them have the land,’. And this is where it gets interesting, because the City Assembly lets the locals have the land on condition that the houses that are built there are of certain standard, and the poor locals being poor locals, who cannot even afford to pay for the title deeds, cannot afford to meet the standards of the City council and are therefore forced to sell the plots, they fought tooth and nail for, to the rich man, whom all along was just watching and patiently waiting in the wings.

 

From a series of stories by DK

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