Residents of Kachere Township in Blantyre, southern Malawi, are anxious that their houses and business structures could be demolished before they have received their compensation now the Zomba-Road Road construction project has started.
Although District Commissioner (DC) for Blantyre, Charles Makanga, on Thursday said compensations were paid to all people around Kachere, it has emerged that some have not yet received their compensations due to changes in the design of the road.
The residents have differed with the DC on the compensation saying only four people have been paid so far.
“What the DC is saying in not true. Had it been that all the people in the area received their compensations, we would not be claiming that we have not received our money,” said John Mphepo, chairman of the people who are yet to receive their compensations in Kachere Township.
One of the affected people, Ephraim Kafupa, said it is close to two years now since authorities informed them about the commencement of the project at a meeting that was held at St Kizito Primary School in the area.
“We don’t want to be caught unawares. We want the concerned authorities [National Roads Authority, Ministry of Lands and the Blantyre DC] to update us on the progress of the road at every stage,” said Kafupa.
“We don’t want to wake up one day only to realise that our property is being destroyed by the authorities,” he said.
Kafupa said they cannot also build fences around their houses, connect water and electricity to their houses, among other things, since the city authorities told them not to do any projects.
He added they needed to know the progress of the project to plan properly as they might end up in investing in projects that will eventually be demolished.
The construction of the Blantyre-Zomba road has already started from Chiradzulu Turn-off going to Zomba.
Efforts to get the comment of the National Raods Authority which has a role in compensation issues for such projects did not materialise as the authority’s spokesperson was unavailable on her mobile phone.
But assistant human resource management officer at the Blantyre District Council, Charles Mphepo, admitted that his office received complaints from the affected people.
“We have indeed received the complaints from people who are to be affected by the road,” adding that initially these people were not affected.
Mphepo explained that a new design of the road along the township showed the road would expand meaning that it would affect people that could not have been affected if it the project had gone with the initial design.
“When the road was trimmed, some people who had been expected to receive compensation were left out. Only those people who the engineers approved their names received payments,” said Mphepo.
“The new engineer however said that those people that had been left out will also be affected,” adding that their houses have been marked for them to move out.
He said the complaint that the people launched had been forwarded to National Roads Authority who are the owners of the project and they are yet to respond.