2024-06-13

CDEDI Demands Independent land Crisis Court for Poor Citizens

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The Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has demanded the Law Commission and the Malawi Law Society (MLS) to have a legislation that should allow for the setting up of an independent court to specifically handle cases where the majority poor feel they were short-changed on land matters in the country.

The CDEDI has challenged government and other stakeholders in land matters to swiftly move in and diffuse the ticking-bomb that is land crisis which is threatening peace and stability in the country.

The organization has observed that it can not be disputed that the general populace has lost trust in the public institutions that are dealing in land -related matters such as the Ministry of Lands, the Malawi Human Rights Commission, Malawi Police Service, District Councils and even traditional leaders for being seen to be favoring foreign nationals and the elite in land justice administration.

Writing in a statement dated 8th February, 2024 signed by its Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa, the CDEDI says land crisis was believed to be an issue endemic to Tea-growing districts of Mulanje, Thyolo and Nkhatabay but today, Malawians are their own witnesses that there is land crisis across the country.

The CDEDI says the recent vigil at the High Court in Lilongwe where some family members were praying for justice to be served over a land they believe to belong to them in Mchinji, is an example of how some people are suffering in fighting for land they believe belongs to them but is in other hands.

The organization says millions of landless citizens are living like half human beings in Thyolo, Mulanje and Nkhatabay while plenty of land lies idle elsewhere claiming that some are serving jail while others are struggling to pay fines over land-related cases and many others have had their land cases stalled for ages.

“Currently, trouble is brewing in Lilongwe’s Area 44 close to Kamuzu Palace where a group of Malawians calling themselves “concerned citizens” are demanding custody of their ancestral land they allege was dubiously given to some foreign nationals,” reads the statement in part.

The CDEDI has demanded Lilongwe District Commissioner in liaison with Traditional Authority Tsabango to sanction the District Conflict Management and Peace Building Committee to pick up the matter before the situation gets out of hand.

The organization has also demanded the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to immediately call for a public land audit to ascertain who owns land in this country and the Inspector General of Police to explain to Malawians why no arrests were made in relation to the 27th November, 2024 shooting incident at Area 44-Lilongwe.

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