Government says it is proceeding with the eviction of timber cooperatives from Viphya Plantation unless Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale gives a different direction on the matter.
Last week, the High Court in Mzuzu ordered the cooperatives and government to discuss the matter and present their issues to court within 14 days.
However, there have been no discussions on the issue hence government’s decision to maintain its stand to evict the timber traders.
In 2013, government signed a 15-year agreement with Timber Millers Cooperatives Union to have its seven cooperatives manage 10 000 hectares (ha) of the 53 000 ha Viphya Plantation popularly known as Chikangawa.
Government ordered the cooperatives to leave by September 8 or risk forced eviction by Malawi Defence Force (MDF).
Speaking in an interview yesterday, the cooperatives chairperson Paul Nthambazale said government has not been willing to hold talks with the cooperatives.
But Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining spokesperson (responsible for environment and climate change) Sangwani Phiri said government is proceeding to effect the eviction.
On the talks as directed by the courts, Phiri said the ministry presented the issue to the AG for legal guidance and is yet to get feedback. n