Some businesspeople in Nkhata Bay District have obtained an injunction restraining Nkhata Bay District Council from moving them from a site where government intends to construct a bus depot.
The council, with funding from Local Development Fund (LDF), intends to construct a bus depot and a market worth about K500 million (about $774 000) and businesspersons occupying the area were to relocate to Nkhata Bay football ground by May 13 to pave way for construction.
The relocation is in line with an agreement that businesspersons signed with the council in 2001 that it will be in a position to demolish structures at the site without compensation and also that the people were to construct temporal facilities.
However, 14 people have obtained an injunction restraining the council from removing them until they get compensated.
According to lawyer for the 14, Ashim Siadi, on Thursday his clients were told by the council to build permanent structures because their structures were going to be on the perimeter of the depot. He said it is surprising that they too are being asked to leave without being compensated.
He also said the place where the business operators are being moved to does not have toilets and it will be hard for them to ply their trade.
“My clients are not against the project. All they want is compensation because they were told to build permanent structures at that time on the basis that their shops will be on the edge of the perimeter,” said Siadi.
However, the council claims people were asked to build temporal structures because the council would use the land in future.
Lawyer for the council, Christon Ghambi, said there is no point in compensating people who were warned that at some point they will have to move.
He said he will challenge the injunction arguing the 14 have no basis for obtaining the injunction. n