Land wrangle leaves over 30 families homeless in Lilongwe

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Over 30 families have been rendered homeless after police backed by high court sheriffs demolished their houses in Chisemphere Village at Chitipi in Malawi’s central region district of Lilongwe Thursday morning.

A ZBS reporter said the police were executing an order from the high court to demolish the houses on behalf of a Malawian of Indian origin only named as Mr Muhamad who bought the land in 2001.

More than 20 armed police officers led by high court sheriffs went to the place in a 7 tonner lorry registration number BM 4895 to conduct the exercise.

The villagers claimed the police did not give them time to negotiate for a compromise.

Both the sheriffs and the leader of the police on the scene denied granting our reporter an interview referring the issue to the spokesperson of the high court.

They claimed they were operating under the court’s jurisdiction but they could not give details.

Some farmers who also claim to own part of the land have cried foul and are currently seeking to get a court injunction.

“We bought the land in 2006 from Group Village Headman Chisemphere… then there was nothing apart from some few houses. Then in 2008 we were told that Mr Muhamad, a Malawian of Indian origin bought the land, about 178 hectors at about K 60 000,” said one of the farmers who opted for anonymity.

Some of the concerned residents whose houses were demolished said their hope is in despair.

“Muhammad just came here with force in the company of heavily armed police and start demolishing our houses, destroying our property in the course.

“As we are talking now we are hopeless, we are not certain of where we will sleep tonight” said one of the villagers who only identified herself as Phinde.

Disputes remain the order of the day in most areas of the country as people buy land directly from traditional leaders without involvement of the department of lands.

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