The Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) on Wednesday said residents of Baghdad in Area 49, whose houses were demolished on Monday, ignored several warnings to vacate the 120-hectare land.
MHC also claimed in an e-mailed response that some of the residents turned violent and assaulted corporation staff.
MHC deputy general manager Wanangwa Mbereka said the inhabitants did not want to leave the land even after a series of negotiations and warnings.
Said Mbereka: â€œWe warned these people before they started their constructions. On 1st, 24th and 25th August, we made final public announcements in the areas concerned and all residential areas in the city of Lilongwe.â€
He said, instead of heeding the call, some inhabitants turned violent and assaulted some MHC staff who were making the public announcements.
â€œThe matter was reported to police that very same day,â€ said the deputy GM.
He claimed that among those involved in assaulting the MCH staff was Maxwell Msakambewa, chairperson of a committee that was purportedly selling the land.
But Msakambewa denied the allegations, saying the MHC staff were only sent back as his group needed to talk to the corporation bosses.
Said Msakambewa: â€œHow can we do that? This committee was even endorsed by them when we were discussing…boundaries. And they took the court orders with them after we requested for their bosses.â€
On the claim by some residents that they inherited the land from their forefathers, Mbereka insisted the disputed land belongs to MHC.
He said through government, MHC already compensated villagers that occupied the land back in the early 1980s.
But Nsakambewa said his parents and some other people have been living in some parts of the land since 1978 and there was no negotiation and compensation.
â€œAs of now, we donâ€™t have a place to live and we are still waiting for the President and other associations to intervene,â€ said Msakambewa.
The residents also claimed there is a court order which allows them to stay on the land, but Mbereka said he was not aware of that.
According to Mbereka, MHC plans to build some 150 houses on the land. The remaining property will be developed into plots for sale.