By Shadreck Maoni:
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has blamed the Lilongwe City Council for sealing their headquarters in Lilongwe on Thursday morning over unpaid city rates.
In a statement, MCP Publicity Secretary Maurice Munthali said while the party agreed to the obligation to settle city rates, it had reservations with paying for the bill that was accrued while the building was idle.
“Malawians may recall that the national headquarters building was bombed in 1993 during Operation Bwezani rendering it not habitable and usable. It was only in 2013 that the party renovated only two rooms to accommodate our then newly-elected leader Dr. Lazarus Chakwera who had expressed his intention to work from office and not home. Upon noticing that there was some activity around the premises, the City Council came and presented an accumulated bill for city rates including for the 20-year period when the building had remained closed.
‘While the party agreed to the obligation to settle city rates, it had reservations with paying for the bill that was accrued while the building was idle. We, therefore, requested the City Council for an open and constructive roundtable discussion on the matter so that we arrive at an agreeable consensus. Sadly, our request was turned down.
“The City Council later dragged MCP to court. In its determination the court ruled that the case had been brought to a wrong court in the first place. The Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda ruling deemed it necessary that as a remedy to that particular course of action, the case had to be taken to an appropriate court. Since that time, we have been hoping that the City Council would proceed with the legal advice it got from the court or avail themselves for another roundtable discussion so that we find an amenable solution to this prolonged deadlock, “reads part of the statement
He said the party is therefore, surprised that the Council has decided to seal the headquarters before we could collectively exhaust all existing legal and moral channels.
“The party believes that the action by City Council is flawed as it overrides and contradicts the earlier court ruling. The Malawi Congress Party is currently utilizing all channels at its disposal to ensure that its concerns on the matter are addressed quickly by all stakeholders involved. We ask our members not to panic and maintain order as necessary measures are being undertaken to have the headquarters opened for business again as soon as possible,” he said