Parliament in Malawi yesterday debated and passed three Land-Related Bills, but deferred the Local Government Bill because the opposition did not prepare for it.
The Bills include Malawi Housing Corporation Amendment, Forest Act Amendment, Roads Act Amendment and Registered Land Act Amendment.
However, the House postponed debate on the Local Government Amendment Bill because opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP) said they were not prepared for it.
In fact, it transpired later that the postponed Bill had been scheduled for today.
MCP legislator Maxwell Thyolera said it was only proper that the Bill be tackled on the day it was slated for to allow for thorough scrutiny from the members.
During debate on Land-related Bills, a number of members of Parliament (MPs) expressed reservations before they reluctantly passed them.
Nkhata Bay Central MP Ralph Mhone said he did not support a clause in the MHC Amendment Bill, which gives the parastatal freedom to buy and develop customary land.
He feared this will disadvantage and displace poor Malawians whose financial muscle cannot match that of the corporation where an individual and MHC are gearing to buy the same piece of land.
But Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi assured parliamentarians that subsidiary laws will be put in place to protect the interests of individuals.
He repeated that the Land-related Bills aim to empower Malawians to acquire and own land unlike in the past when all land was vested in the President. n