Chiefs in Karonga District have described the newly-passed Customary Land Bill as a relief to traditional leaders over land disputes that are common in the district.
Speaking on Friday after a three-day training workshop on the new legislation organised by Landnet Malawi, Senior Chief Mwirang’ombe said traditional leaders have suffered a lot in settling land disputes that mostly affect vulnerable people such as widows and orphans.
He said chiefs will now find it easier to settle land wrangles since every citizen in the village will have their land registered, and that chiefs will now have legal powers to administer and manage land.
“I am thankful to the legislators for passing the Land Bills which have given us powers to head customary land committees that will administer land issues in villages.
“As chiefs, we have suffered for a long time in settling land disputes among some citizens such as orphans and widows whose land was grabbed and few of us have been honest enough to [rule] in favour of these vulnerable people,” said Mwirang’ombe.
In his remarks, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kilupula said at first he was afraid that the Bill would take away his authority over land.
“I was afraid that the land committee would have more authority over administering land, but now I am satisfied since I have been told that I will head the committee,” said Kilupula.
Last week, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi met senior chiefs from the Northern Region in Mzuzu to sensitise them to the Land Bills.
President Peter Mutharika is yet to assent to the four land-related bills Parliament recently passed namely, Land Bill, Customary Land Bill, Land Survey Bill, and Physical Planning Bill.