By Patrick Botha – Mana.
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Kenzie Msukwa has told Nkhata Bay district council to work with speed in identifying a new site for the construction of police and immigration houses.
The development comes after Nkhata Bay Police complained that the proposed site at Mkondezi which is about 6 Kilometres from Nkhata Bay Police Station may not be convenient for junior staff who may find commuting to the office a burden thereby compromising timely execution of duties.
“The site at Mkondezi is okay for senior staff. But it would pose a challenge when it comes to junior staff. So we would rather house them right here within the office grounds,” said Mike Chona who is Officer In charge for Nkhata Bay.
Commenting on the development, Msukwa said the council needs to take into context the concerns from the police regarding the site because his ministry did not want to compromise police operations in terms of security provision.
“I would therefore like to urge the district commissioner and his team to quickly identify a place close by because we want to construct these houses within the shortest period possible so that officers can have good accommodation,” he advised.
Msukwa said the Chakwera government is focusing on rebuilding the civil service to ensure good public service delivery.
District commissioner, Rodney Simwaka and Senior Chief Mkumbira were given one week to identify the new site and report back to his ministry.
In his remarks Simwaka had told the minister that land disputes were the order of the day due to having a lot of land falling to plantations and reserve leaving very little for customary ownership.
“Land disputes are a toll order here because some of the land under reserve or plantations was taken since 1945 or even earlier. And so with the growing population there might be need to degazette some of this land back to customary ownership to curb issues of encroachment,” he bemoaned.
The minister was accompanied by his deputy, Abida Mia and Principal Secretary, Wilson Moleni.
Nkhata Bay has been allocated a total of 10 houses in the current phase.
The minister later presided over the official opening of a media orientation on new land laws for journalists in the north at Ilala Bay in the district.
The journalists were invited under the courtesy of Nyika Media Club.
Government is piloting the new land laws in a few districts in Malawi before fully rolling out.