Chief Chinunda of the Chewa people in Chipangali District in Eastern Province has expressed concern over the uncertain future of his subjects who are going to be displaced once the construction of the Central Business District (CBD) commences.
The chief says he does not know where his subjects that will be removed from their land to pave way for the construction of the CBD will be taken for resettlement.
The traditional ruler raised his concern when Chipangali District Commissioner Peter Msimuko paid a courtesy call on him yesterday.
The Chief told the DC, who was accompanied by Council Secretary John Mwanza and District Education Board Secretary Felistus Nkoloma that government should be ready to help those who will be affected after being displaced with alternative land.
Chief Chinunda said much as it was appreciated that Chipangali was given a district status, it was a concern to people who would be displaced for construction of infrastructure for the CBD, as there is no land in the chiefdom where they could be settled.
“I know the benefits that come with infrastructure development in our district but I am concerned with where my subjects will go after they are displaced. That is why I am saying government should help us to find a place for them,” the traditional leader said.
He noted that his chiefdom is within a restricted Game Management Area (GMA) and the only adequate land where his subjects are settled is in Chitandika area where the CBD is now supposed to be located.
Chief Chinunda wants some of his subjects to be compensated after being displaced because they have invested a lot on their pieces of land which they are currently occupying.
However, Chipangali Council Secretary John Mwanza assured the traditional leader that people that have already settled will not be disturbed but will be incorporated in the planning for the CBD.
Mr Mwanza explained that when such an activity of putting the CBD takes place permanent structures are legalized and incorporated into the plan.
The Council Secretary informed the chief that the council planners usually buffer certain areas and leave them for traditional land, adding that only the bush where nothing is built on was the one which would be disturbed.
“Only the bush where nothing is built on will be disturbed,” Mr Mwanza said. “I can give an example of Mambwe district where structures that were found where incorporated in the plan for the CBD that time.”
Meanwhile, Chipangali District Commissioner Peter Msimuko said 211 hectares of land was required to construct a Civic Centre, District Administration block, a Police Station, low, medium and high cost residential houses.
Mr Msimuko said Chitandika area being centrally located in the district was suitable for a CBD and encompasses three chiefdoms which are Chinunda, Mafuta and Mnukwa.
He disclosed that bidders for the construction of infrastructure in the district will be arriving on the 19th of this month and needed to be taken to the site.
“There is no time left for us to start constructing and this is the reason why we have come. Government has already secured funds for the construction of infrastructure,” the DC said.
He appealed to the traditional leadership to compromise over the release of land so that funds did not go back to the treasury, saying that if they delay people might not receive the required services in good time.