Malawi Government says it will not help in relocating homeless villagers following a land dispute at Choma in Mzuzu, arguing the problem is of their own making.
Hundreds of villagers were recently left homeless after courts ruled the land they occupied in the city belonged to one Moffat Kumwenda; hence, they had to relocate.
Sheriffs, in company of police, demolished houses and other structures put up by the villagers on two occasions.
Mzuzu City chief executive officer Richard Hara on Tuesday said the people are to blame for settling on Kumwenda’s land and not respecting the courts. Hara said government will not help in any way; the villagers have to find a solution to the problem.
He said the Mzuzu City Council communicated to the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) where the villagers sought help that the matter was not worth government intervention. He said government is also respecting the courts’ decision.
Hara said the villagers—who have sought refuge at some churches—also risk facing city by-laws which state that no idle person is to be allowed in the city.
He said the fact that the villagers have no toilets and homes is reason enough for them not to be in the city.
He advised that they should look for a new home in remote areas where chiefs are still in control.
Visits to the site found the villagers in a confused state, saying they are living in fear and will not grow crops this year.
The villagers have turned some churches into their homes. These include Chipangano and New Apostolic churches.
One of the villagers, Allan Chirwa, said the churches are mostly housing children and women. He said some men sleep outside their ruins and the situation becomes difficult when it rains.
Said Chirwa: “We have no choice but find shelter anywhere we can. Some of us sleep outside and we let the children and women occupy the churches. However, this has inconvenienced the churches.
“Right now, the major challenge is food and clothes since our harvests were carried away. Our businesses have also been affected and we have no source of money. We also risk infections since we have no toilets and safe water.”