Former Minister of Lands Symon Vuwa Kaunda appeared before Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe on Wednesday as a witness in a case related to a land dispute in Area 43, Lilongwe.
One of the community members, Marriam Dayilesi, who is answering charges of encroachment on land belonging to Ufulu John Loga, told the court that Kaunda distributed the land to them on December 19, 2019.
“In 2019, we were told by Honourable Kaunda to create a committee and share the land among ourselves for settlement, which Mr. Loga is today claiming to be his,” Dayilesi told the court.
However, Kaunda denied the allegations, observing that the Ministry of Lands does not give out land to people for free and that the law requires landowners to have documents that prove ownership.
“My presence on the premises in 2019 was influenced by a request made by Honourable Alfred Jiya and Village Headman Kauma who asked the Ministry of Lands to solve an issue about a pathway to the cemetery which was blocked by a fence Loga built and nothing else,” Kaunda told the court.
Loga told the court that he bought the land in 2009 through the Ministry of Lands and produced title deed 43/1240 before the court.
He says he planned to construct a hotel and 72 apartment buildings on the land, which is at least 27 hectares and borders Area 43 and Kauma.
“I bought the land in 2009. Unfortunately, I do not stay much of my time in Malawi than I do in South Africa.
“But in 2019 when I heard that some people have settled on my land, I came to solve the issue and built a fence,” Loga explained in the court.
Loga further told the court that the villagers demolished his fence and destroyed some of his property on the premises.